‘Augmented, Disruptive Tabbouleh Making-Unmaking’ by Dalia Khalife at Takeover

‘Bitesize’ is Takeover’s seventh open call, inviting Lebanese or Lebanon-based artists to propose a performative gesture considering the street location, pedestrian and car traffic, and involving audience or passerby interaction. Performances involving food were highly encouraged. The jury, comprised Ieva Saudargaite, Marie-Nour Hechaime, and Marc Ghazali, selected ‘Augmented, Disruptive Tabbouleh Making-Unmaking’ by Dalia Khalife.

'Augmented, Disruptive Tabbouleh Making-Unmaking' by Dalia Khalife at Takeover
‘Augmented, Disruptive Tabbouleh Making-Unmaking’ by Dalia Khalife at Takeover

This event featured a food performance at Takeover’s space. Food in performance intersects cultural identities, desire, disgust, and other social, psychological, and physiological excesses. This performance augments and bends everyday life, addressing cultural relationships with food and critiquing technological times.

Khalife’s proposal was a durational, interactive performance involving food preparation, extending her recent work with a projected, augmented, hyper-realistic digital avatar. The performance showcased her preparing a large quantity of tabbouleh, a quintessential local dish, amidst crisis. Tabbouleh, like hummus, has appeared in Guinness World Records for the largest serving, symbolising both self-fetishisation and contested cultural appropriation.

'Augmented, Disruptive Tabbouleh Making-Unmaking' by Dalia Khalife at Takeover
‘Augmented, Disruptive Tabbouleh Making-Unmaking’ by Dalia Khalife at Takeover

The act of cutting, dicing, chopping, mincing, and ripping becomes a choreographed labour, embodying micro-aggressions, subtle tensions, and a poetic deconstruction of time. Each gesture is performative. Simultaneously, her avatar, reenacting the food preparation process through pre-recorded amplified movements, conveyed different emotional states, creating the illusion of a woman performing her thoughts in a transformed, psychedelic kitchen décor.

As the performance unfolds, Khalife alternated between food preparation and synchronised pauses, dance breaks, naps, and rest periods, outsourcing the work to her digital simulation. This examines the outsourcing of cooking practices and reliance on automated assistance, robot chefs, and mechanised food preparation.

After the performance, the prepared food was distributed to passersby, audience members, or donated. This project is part of the open call series supported by the BERYT project, led by UN-Habitat and funded by the Lebanon Financing Facility, administered by the World Bank, and implemented by UNESCO Beirut.

'Augmented, Disruptive Tabbouleh Making-Unmaking' by Dalia Khalife at Takeover
‘Augmented, Disruptive Tabbouleh Making-Unmaking’ by Dalia Khalife at Takeover

About Dalia Khalife

Dalia Khalife is a hybrid artist, scenographer, multidisciplinary designer, and dancer. A professor at the Lebanese American University, she works intuitively across installations, site-specific interventions, video, objects, painting, and performative gestures. Her practice explores psychophysiological happenings, spectacle, and play within power structures, social events, and rituals, creating ambiguous and vulnerable shared moments. Raw humour and absurdity often emerge, with unpredictability from collaborations playing a crucial role.

Location: Takeover, Beirut

Dates: June 26th and 27th

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