Project Description

Fabio Melecio Palacios – Teaching how to eat fish

This score is a performative proposal that is aimed for the conservation of inherited roots and customs, recalling the transport of slaves through the so-called triangular trade.

Food is an approach to the other and to myself.

I am a black artist and my concern is to point out certain situations which arise when having a practice or a custom within black families.
It is asking myself: what do you think of when you see such mundane food? (They say that eating fish is for blacks).
Therefore, fish is not eaten in the same way in all latitudes, the way of consumption is changing and traveling in relation to customs and beliefs.
My interest is in putting the stereotypes into dialogue, that from my black, Latino and Afro-Colombian condition can intersect with the people who execute the performance.
Everyone can join to feel something experiential and to experience their ethnic condition, but “here a black man is the one who proposes the food to be consumed by the white, the foreigner, the other, the local, etc”.

I want to emphasize that these thoughts are raised from a stream of possibilities and furthermore, I am interested in knowing how the other is conceived and what it is he feels when he participates in his daily life.

Following this guideline, the staging contains three moments which are to be executed:

1 Ingredients
• get 1 green banana
• get 1 potato
• get 1 large Tilapia (fish)
• a deep plate (or soup bowl)
• a long onion stem or branch
• salt

2 Preparation

• remove the skins of the potato and of the banana and cut them in halves
• remove the leaf of the onion stem and divide it into 3 parts
• the Tilapia (or fish) must be without bones, fins and washed very well
• in a medium saucepan, place the banana first, then the potato and on top of it the whole fish.
• Add two cups of water, the onion pieces and salt to taste
• cover the pot and let it boil, cook for 45 minutes

3 Performance instructions

• when everything is cooked, very carefully place the banana first, then the potato and finally the fish on the plate.
• put on a white t-shirt
• sit comfortably and start tasting everything WITH YOUR HANDS (without cutlery)
• take a piece of fish, a piece of banana and taste them together, or a piece of potato and fish
• savor it, suck on your fingers, on the bones, chew them until you finish all the food
• for a moment, forget the rules of the table to which we are accustomed
• the thorns are removed as you eat. – don’t be afraid, just do it, (if you feel something strange in your throat, eat more banana)

Answer these two questions:
1. What cultural, everyday and customary aspects did you connect with during the preparation, through the ingredients and the performance?
2. Do you think that eating fish in this way is a matter of race, custom or stereotype?

Fabio Melecio Palacios
Palmira, Colombia
20 April 2021