RSVP (max. capacity 20 guests)
"Civilized people don't use weapons at the dinner table."
-Confucius (highly paraphrased)
In 2014, artist Aisha Cousins conducted two rounds of a performance art score called "Civilized People: Knife Collection Drive" as a way of gathering public feedback for an opera that looked at gentrification through the lens of black trickster folk tales. With the help of The Laundromat Project and Heather Hart's Bartertown, she engaged passersby in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Dumbo (two communities at opposite ends of NYC's gentrification timeline) in exploring the subjective nature of the concept of "civilization" by asking them to turn in their forks and (dinner) knives in exchange for cookbooks featuring non-violent eating methods like chop sticks, injera, and fufu.
The last page of these cookbooks encouraged participants to use the cookbooks as a tool to create dinner parties where neighbors gather to discuss how the definition of "civilized" varies from culture to culture, as well as to consider this question: "Is it civilized to ask residents of a community you're moving into to change because they do things differently from you?" Join us as we gather to act out this last portion of Cousins' score.
Please bring a dish for 4-8 people that can be eaten without forks or knives.