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Performa 09: Pasta Sauna

At Flavorpill, we love food and we love performance art. So imagine our delight when the two forces combined during Performa 09 in the food art installation, Pasta Sauna. Inspired by the Italian Futurist Cookbook, which condemned pasta as a food that made humans lethargic and overweight, Dutch “eating-designer” Marije Vogelzang uses the steam from boiling pasta to create a sauna. That way, audience members can feel as lazy and heavy as the food they’re putting into their bodies.

“There is no material that comes as close to human beings as food,” she has said. “Food goes to the stomach, but it can also activate the brain and can rouse strong memories and emotions.”

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When you enter the installation, you’re given a bowl of uncooked pasta and are instructed to enter the sauna.

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You hand your bowl to someone in an intense white jumpsuit and watch as they flatten the pasta and submerge it into a large bowl of boiling water. The cooking time is about two minutes and in the meantime, you’re free to write obscenities/thought-provoking statements on the steam-filled windows.

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Right as you begin to feel lightheaded from the steam, your pasta is done. (Did we mention that it’s free?) Outside the sauna, you can add simple seasonings of pepper, grated cheese, and olive oil to your dish.

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The combination of heat and carbohydrates makes for a monster food coma. However, that seems to be Vogelzang’s point; she’s created an environment that matches your natural physical reaction. How’s that for some food for thought?

Visit Marije Vogelzang’s website and buy her latest book, Eat Love, to learn more about her food philosophies. If you happen to be in Amsterdam, swing by her restaurant Proef for a meal.

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