Activating Fluxus at HKB Forschungsapéro 2023 Jahresschau

The members of the “Activating Fluxus” project have been invited to present their research at the HKB-Forschungsapéro 2023 Jahresschau, which roughly translates to “research apéro annual exhibition.” During this event organized at Progr Bern, the Bern public, Fluxus enthusiasts and HKB colleagues will have the opportunity to experience Alison Knowles’s Identical Lunch (1967) and enjoy a delicious meal in a convivial atmosphere.

Activating Fluxus has a long-standing relationship with “Identical Lunch,” having enjoyed the work as an internal lunch since the project’s inception at the Institute of Materiality in Art and Culture. You can read more about this in Aga Wielocha’s essay on the topic. Stefanie Manthey has also contributed an article on a related subject in the recent issue of HKB Zeitung, available here.

What interests us about Identical Lunch is how it mutates and changes over time, sometimes allowing for dramatic alterations to its constitutive parts while at other times maintaining an attachment to the recipe offered in the 1960s. At the upcoming Fluxus Global Symposium at the Dortmunder U, Musuem Ostwall, the team will present a co-authored paper grappling with the concepts of identity and difference in the ongoingness of Identical Lunch.

Read below the event announcement.

Philip Corner
The Identical Lunch
Barton, USA: Nova Broadcast Press, 1973

Alison Knowles, Identical Lunch, 1967

Alison Knowles’s Identical Lunch consists of an invitation to consume the same meal—a tuna fish sandwich on wheat toast with lettuce and butter, no mayo and a large glass of buttermilk or a cup of the soup of the day–each week at the same place at about the same time. The piece originated in the 1960s when a fellow Fluxus artist, Philip Corner, noticed that Knowles was eating the exact same thing for lunch every day at Riss Foods, a diner located in Chelsea, New York City. Knowles, who termed this shared meal an “event score,” initially started inviting people to join her for lunch, often interesting individuals who she wanted to get to know.  The meals have been documented over the years through screen-prints and published editions created by Knowles and Corner. These works contain reflections on the quality of the meal, guest lists, receipts and lively conversations, as well as photographs capturing the communal experience. The Identical Lunch continues to be performed in different variations in New York and beyond.

The researchers of Activating Fluxus seek to bring Knowles’s Identical Lunch to contemporary audiences by transforming it into a social and participatory experience at the Forschungsapero in Progr Bern. Their primary goal is not only to make the artwork accessible to the public but also to investigate the relevance of historical Fluxus in today’s world. By collaborating with the lunch’s participants, they wish to explore the significance and impact of Fluxus on contemporary culture and, above all, create a convivial atmosphere that encourages interaction and engagement among the attendees.

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