Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery

Oxford, July 2014

Foodleft Series: ‘A Social Stew’
A Last Meal at the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery
St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University, UK
July 13, 2014

Oxford Leftover Lunch. Pepe Dayaw. design by Jake TIlson

Leftovers from previous meals were accumulated and prepared four hours before the lunch. It was served through a procession led by a trumpeter playing a New Orleans funeral march, followed by around a dozen chefs and around two dozen staff working with the college. A rice ritual honoring food artist Alicia Rios preceded.

The Last Meal. Leftover Lunch at the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery 2014 from Pepe Dayaw on Vimeo.

Collaborating chefs: Tim, head chef at St. Catherine’s College, Keelin, Eve, and the chefs of St. Catherine.
Film and Images: Joe and Bonny
Acknowledgements: Ursula, Elisabeth, Trine, Monica
Printed menu design: Jake Tilson
Vimeo by: Bonnie

news report


Nowhere Islands (food and community making platform)

About Nowhere Island
The Island is Nowhere Kitchen’s itinerant practice of installing live kitchen environments as a means of not only occupying an already existing context, but also collaborating to catalyze them. A state of ritualistic improvisation takes place where elements found in-situ are used to cook a given situation. The rituals that surround the cooking and eating meal create an ephemeral state of community that is specific only to the moment. It belongs to no other time but now. Dishes belong to no other places but here. It is an ‘island’ that generate a tribe in-situ and situates local desires to collaborate to weave other possible futures.

#01. Agora: Affect International Residency Launch
Agora Collective – Neukolln, Berlin. March 15, 2014
with Ayumi Masa Saito

#02. Transnationality and Translinguality // Brunch
Month of Performance Art – Berlin
Ding Dong Dom, Das Theater der Zukunft. May 03, 2014
with Ayumi Saito, Marie Capesius and Alex Shure

#03. Berlin Diagonale // Theatertreffen 2014
Independent Performing Arts Made in Berlin
Ding Dong Dom, Das Theater der Zukunft, Holzmarkt 25. May 06, 2014
with Ayumi Saito, Marie Capesius and Alex Shure

#04. Inhabiting Dispersion // Archive of Affects
Espacio B (in partnership with the Museum of Reina Sofia)
Lavapies, Madrid. May 16, 2014

#05. We-Traders Berlin Exhibition – Opening
Kunstraum Bethanien – Kreuzberg. July 6, 2014
performance with Marie Capesius

#06. Food Assembly London Launch Event
90 Mainyard Bar and Restaurant. July 15, 2014
with Roberta Siao

#05. We-Traders Berlin Exhibition – Opening

Organic vegetables in season from a local Berlin farm, rice noodles, tempeh wrapped in fresh summer rice paper topped with rhubarb peanut sauce. Eaten by hand.

Photos: Javier Duero
Mobile kitchen provided by Gartenstudio


Agora: Foreplay #01

Foreplay Series / edible performances
collaboration with matanicola and the Progressive Wave
Agora Collective, Berlin. June 27, 2014

A meal is at once a pretext, a process and an end. It is a foreplay waiting to be performed. Food emerges into something else as it penetrates ones body and nourishes the physical. It satisfies an immediate desire that is connected to other desires. As the materiality of food make the body live, the spirit of how it is prepared, presented, served and shared revitalizes the need to make a living in relation to what is around. When one eats with one’s hands, the experience of food becomes more haptic, and distinctions among senses blur. The rituals around food is in itself a dance!

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About Foreplay:
Foreplay is Agora’s performance serie whose primary intention is to create proximity between the audience and the work of the performer/choreographer prior to the performance itself. From June 2014, Foreplay performances will be preceded by a carefully prepared dinner situation designed collaboratively by the artist and one of Agora Food’s chefs (Agora’s food platform that supports 7 different chefs). This food experience is the opportunity for the artist to approach his/her work in a new format, re-articulating it into the language of taste, texture and dynamics.

Agora webpage

About the cooking:
In his ‘play-by-ear’ kitchen, Manila-born Pepe taps into local ingredients in season and marries them with traditionally Southeast Asian herbs and eating habits to create a meal that is at once ordinary and uncanny. It’s an improvisation stimulated by both faraway nostalgia and of nearby impulses. The future comes in the form of an eating ritual that brings back the experience of food as a transensorial and holistic dance. As the eating goes, the stereotypic, exotic, local and other whatnots become past pretexts.

Photos: Pedro Jardim


spontaneous human combustion

improvised dance compositions
various sites and contexts

dance arouses where there is heat…

Full moon, a piano floats in the middle of of a lake in Niembro, a small village in Asturias. A church stands in the background, faint lights of the lamp posts illuminate the scene. A Chopin piece is playing. Heartbeat and a white cloth in hand…




La Voliere aux Pianos
Sergio Santurio, piano
Photo: Agustin Pilarte
La Xata La Rifa Rural Festival

About Spontaneous Human Combustions:
SHC is a series of ‘unrehearsed’ dance compositions that get cooked in-situ and relies on the high art of improvisation. This is inspired by indigenous practices in dancing where rehearsal is a trial as much as it is the thing itself. In traditional tribal gatherings that feature community dancing, a body gets inspired to move itself based on what is happening around it. It is an organic act of symbiotic contamination. So in a merry-making situation for example, people organically form circles and build upon rhythms that they create. The energy or heat heightens and inspires / ignites the body (and other bodies) to move. It is the attraction between movements from within and without that form the dance. A dancer can start and end anywhere anytime, and can go over the same process again and again. This is the reason why tribal feasts often last for days. Time is defined by the body. Time is the body. The body is a universe composed of multiple dances. And dance is the crystallized yet moving form that gets exhausted or combusted.

Pepe learned various traditional dances out of working as an ethnographer of rituals, dance and music practiced by minority cultures in the Philippines. Over time, he digests these movement codes and learn many others along the way in pursuit to relearn ways of moving that is all his own.

Kaloob Philippine Music and Dance Ministry



a bovine procession

itinerant performance
Festival La Xata La Rifa, Asturias, October 2012


Where is our meeting place?

Meeting place is a point you define for at least two lines to meet. The place where the lines meet becomes a node. A concentration of energy, an event. This is typical of main squares, city centers or what are defined as kilometer zeros. Meetings are intrinsically happenings. It is as much a meeting place as it is taking place that consists of a choreography of occupation. And they happen everyday (with the everyday). It is in the occupation that the everyday could become uncanny.

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When I arrived in the small village of Piñeres, I wanted to observe what was happening everyday. So I made a routine of staying and walking through the village and observe. What got my attention was the daily movement made by a group of about 40 cows from the grazing field back to their stables, which took a distance of about 100 meters.  The cows are owned by a local farmer whom I also got to know during my stay. Punctually at dusk, the bovine creatures return to their house to be fed again and stay there for the night. Both exodus and re-entry lasted for about 15 minutes. For about a week, I spent every afternoon with the cows, being with them, and observing how they let their time pass. I had to gradually adjust myself with the cows’ distinct energies, at the same time that the cows gradually got used to my presence. With the collaboration of some of the villagers, I mounted a dining table in the middle of the field of cows, with flowers and a salad starter plate complete with knives and fork, both prepared for me by new village friends I made during the week. I invited the public, consisting of both villagers and outsiders to meet me at the grazing fields. They arrived as I was eating, and the cows did pretty much the same. One of the villagers noticed that I had nothing to drink and shouted at me, ‘look, the poor kid has nothing to drink, pepe, do you want a bottle of wine?’. I joyfully said ‘yes, why not!’. Shortly, a bottle of wine arrived to my table. I was dressed immaculately, in white shirt and bow-tie, a cowbell necklace, and black boots. The cows ate, peed, pooped around me, and many times even tried to take some of my food. I spent a good time protecting my territory. After eating, I rang the cow bell. The stable owner opened the gates of the grazing field, and let out the cows. One by one the cows came out, followed by me, and without so much instruction, the rest of the public. A short human-cow procession occurred. This ritual was accentuated by a group of musicians. I felt like a bride getting married at the high council of the cows.

When the guests reached the stable, I was waiting for them, and the cows were being fed by the owner. I held a bunch of paper in my hand. Another friend and artist Pablo installed ultraviolet lights so that the most prominent objects visible were the cows’ white skin, my white shirt and and the papers held in my hand. I drew the paper sheets one by one and started introducing each cow’s name. Each sheet was an official Spanish document, containing each cow’s registered name, lineage, identity number, barcoded, signed and sealed by the State. After reciting the cows’s names, I read one last sheet of paper, which was a document granting me official permission to reside in Spain. It arrived before I came to the village after having waited for it for five months. I scattered all the papers on top of a stack of hay for the people to look at, as I went into another table that I had set up in the middle of the stable to continue eating with the cows. We said goodbye to the human guests. Minutes later, the stable’s owner handed me a glass of freshly squeezed milk from one of the cows and I drank.

Photos: Agustine Pilarte

more photos from Irma Collins >>>