This installation dinner was performed at Siren, an Oakland festival celebrating feminism. A hand-picked team of Appetite Obscure veterans were recruited to conceive and give birth to Post-Sexual dishes.
Two wise women sit behind a desk. Have a seat. In front of you are an array of colorful tinctures, each representing a specific emotion or psychological state. The women will ask you questions to determine what sort of person you are and what sort of feelings you need. From this interview they will compose a custom tincture blend for you to ingest. Ingest it.
A demure woman in an old-fashioned dress and apron stands stock still in front of you. “Hello,” she says. “May I be your object today?” Her face is disturbingly cheerful and unblinking. “Um, sure,” you say. She turns to the side, revealing a cutting board attached to her lower back. She gets down on her hands and knees. With one hand she lifts a bowl of cheeses. Take a wedge and place it on the cutting board. She retracts the bowl of cheeses and pulls a small knife from her apron. You try to take the knife but she won’t let go of it. “Use my hand,” she says. So you twist her arm up behind her back, manipulating her hand and wrist to push the knife into the cheese. Cut a few slices. Eat them. She then presents the bowl again to receive the cheese, then stands and thanks you.
The object of your affection resides at the end of a 50-foot tube of translucent black fabric barely wide enough to accommodate a single person. Don the neck-mounted fig holder. Load a fig in the holer. Then traverse the tunnel, squeezing through the tube. The object of your affection will crawl through from the other side, similarly fig-loaded, until they meet you in the middle. Feed each other the fig from each of your respective fig holders. Shimmy past each other and continue on, exiting the tube on the other side.
Draw a card from the merkin-holstered deck of sexual positions. Select partner(s) to recreate the sexual position. You will be fed sweets while holding this pose. Disrobing is optional, celibacy is not. This is a post-sexual meal, after all.
This is a two-course meal. The first course, Fork Me, is an amuse-corps: a physical exercise to increase your level of trust and prepare your body for food. Stand facing your partner, then drop into a pushup position. Your head should be inches from your partner’s. Lift your right arm and place it on your partner’s shoulder; they’ll do the same for you. Hold this pose while the dish facilitator runs the stopwatch. Once you’ve made it to an appropriately impressive time mark, disengage. Now that your heart is beating quickly from trust and exercise, you are ready to eat.
The second course is actual food. You and your partner each extract a generous spoonful from the ice cream tubs. Feed them to each other sensually. Chew and swallow. It’s best to say, “Mmm. That’s pretty good!” but only if you really mean it.
This year’s crop of Improved French Prunes (California’s primary prune export, it should be noted) needs grafting! Like most prunes, you could just plant the pits. But then you’d lose all the specially bred qualities that make the prune so tasty and attractive. So instead, you donate your body.
Stand in the bucket of dirt. Allow the farmer to water the soil at your feet. Look into the light bulb, specially selected for its daylight-like qualities. Once you feel sufficiently nourished to support a prune sprig, extend one of your limbs for grafting. The farmer spears a prune with a bamboo skewer and grafts it to your body using electrical tape. A designated prune picker will come eat it straight from the skewer, graft-fresh.
A man presents you with a bowl of jellyfish salad. Jellyfish, he says, are unusual creatures. When fully grown, the male and female medusae (that’s what they’re called, when fully grown) release eggs and sperm into the water–sexual reproduction. But juvenile jellyfish can also reproduce. They anchor to the sea floor like miniature anemone and reproduce by budding, a self-cloning process.