With Inhibited Bites, Neil Goldberg takes an approach to one-person performance that's improvisational, sometimes comical, and as personal as the act of putting food to your lips. Before his trip to Columbus for a Wex presentation of this solo show at The Idea Foundry on February 21 and an artist's talk the following day at CCAD, Neil gave Sydney info on the inspiration and process behind the work, along with examples of the index cards that fuel it. For more of Neil's random written thoughts, check out his Instagram feed.
What inspired you to begin this project?
This project started out being about the strangeness of one of the most basic aspects of being alive: our need to kill and consume other organisms to survive. That's just always felt so improbable and sci-fi to me. I had made a bunch of video and photographic work about it, and I wanted to find a way to bring that work together and also to talk more directly and more personally about the questions involved. That's how this performance came about. I found that after performing the piece a number of times I really wanted to make it more improvisational, to raise the stakes both for me and, hopefully, the audience. That's when I began using this huge stack of index cards with notes I've been jotting down for many years as prompts within the show.
How has the performance changed over time, as the number of notecards continue to grow?
It's changed the content of the performance a lot: the project has become less tightly focused on eating and more about the obsessions and recurring themes that come up in the cards. Eating is one of them, but there's also a lot about mortality, language, sense experience, the daily absurdities of late capitalism, and my cat Beverly.
What do you want the audience to take away from the performance?
I would be thrilled if the audience left feeling somehow more aware of aspects of their everyday life that typically do not rise to their attention. I love when art does that.
What's your favorite meal?
I'm actually not much of a foodie. If you told me I had to eat a burrito every night, maybe alternated with pizza every now and then, I'd pretty much be ok with that. But lately my husband and I have gotten into using one of those food kit services, where they deliver the ingredients and you chop them up, mix them together, and cook them yourself. The whole thing is wrong in so many ways, but it's made cooking together more pleasurable. We both kind put our ideas of how something should be done aside and collectively yield to the unambiguous instructions. And I have to say the meals are better than anything either of us would ever cook on our own. None of them particularly stand out, but that in itself is kind of a relief.