To the spare sounds of a Schönberg violin concerto, a silhouetted woman seated at a small tea table puts forth her reasons for wanting to become a gourmet. Photographs from glossy cookbooks and magazines accompany her ideas about food as a key to refinement, breeding, and, in the case of “Eastern” cuisines, spirituality. For her, cooking is a way of accumulating and demonstrating cultural capital, whether it is the haughty elegance of a France she’s never visited or the fiery exoticism of a Brazil from which she’s just returned and, she believes, is now “hers” to share with friends. The work illuminates how the concept of the gourmet is bound up with notions of class, and how the kitchen, traditionally presented as the woman’s sphere of power, is used to encourage fantasies of mastery over other cultures just as surely as the “male” sphere of politics is able to do.
This title is also available on martha rosler: crossings.