I am a performer and theatre maker making physical performance, usually embracing the absurd, the comic and grotesque in a playful, accessible way. However, I recently worked in a call centre in which every call was monitored automatically by systems and computers; those in charge could see how long you'd been on a call, how many calls you have taken and listen to them back at will. These calls were measured in time: 4 minutes and 32 seconds. 5 minutes and 12 seconds. Nowadays we often understand and speak about time in reference to The Clock. Time is split up, cut up into smaller and smaller packages: weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds; with each second becoming precious. Precious because it is being measured, and because it can be measured. This conception of time is not self-evidently correct and arguably developed because of historical, economic and social factors. In the transition between Feudalism and Capitalism a clock with hours, minutes, seconds of standarised, mechanised, privatised automatic time was a necessity to discipline and control the new workforce of the newly industrialising cities. Time as something to be cut up into separate pieces and used against you was mirrored in the Enclosures of common land, which deprived the essential means of survival from a whole swathe of people, making the threat of starvation and famine more acute and no doubt making the upside-down image of Cockaigne ever more alluring.
In contrast to the intense, focused, emotionally taxing, always-on-the-clock work in the call centre I tried to slow down in my breaks, not look at my phone and eat my sweet treats very slowly, savouring their flavour.
I'm currently thinking about how to create an interactive, performance/*mindful* eating experience in which the participants and I reflect on what we eat and the energy (human attention, labour and fossil fuels) that goes into giving us the sweet foods we crave, possibly while eating a Mars bar incredibly slowly.