Collaboration with KvHBob, Marc Elisabeth and Niko Demoed.
In June 2023, we started an artists-in-residence at the Besiendershuis in Nijmegen. During this residency, everything revolved around a culinary experiment: inspired by the god Saturn and the associated festivities and holidays: the Saturnalia.
During the Saturnalia, the enslaved* were treated as equals: they were served by and wore the clothing of their oppressors. The holidays lasted from a few days to a whole week. During that period, daily life was brought to a halt, trading was not allowed and schools were closed. Instead, the Saturnalia were all about copious drinking, eating, and gambling. Delicacies such as figs, nuts and dates were plentiful and sprinkled over the people. The celebrations were all about honoring Saturn, the god of time, wealth, agriculture and grain. With the feasts, men celebrated the harvest and prosperity that their land had brought them. The first time the event took place was probably around 500 BC.
Inspired by the Saturnalia, more than 2500 years later, we organized a new edition. This time a contemporary version in which we celebrated prosperity in our own way. While today's abundance has become so self-evident that a celebration seems nonsensical, we emphasized the opposite hosting a specially designed dinner. During this dinner, all the guests found themselves on an equal footing: absorbed in the event, stripped of their differences, with no idea what to expect. The menu was composed during the residency. Each course celebrated abundance in its own way, ranging from local harvest to global availability.
The video of the event is made by Jannus Doornhegge.
Waiters: Hendrik van Dijk and Hans Hannah
*We use the term “enslaved,” which has its origins in the discourse of the transatlantic slave trade. We use this term because we believe that slavery should not be denied in any time period.