The 100 Euro Dinner
A performance by Richard Pettifer, Sonja Hornung and Carrie McIlwain
The idea for “the Dinner” performance came up when a relative from Australia gave the artists 100 euro as a gift. The instructions said it should be used to enjoy “a fancy dinner”, which turned to be a deceptively hard task.
Many artists living in the “poor but sexy” capital of Germany, used to eating currywurst or kebab meals for under 2 euro, wouldn’t even know where to find a restaurant with meals that expensive. But what artists lack in funds they compensate with creativity, and the duo decided to ask for suggestions in a discussion board, hinting they could hire somebody to cook them a memorable and special meal. The response they got was unusual, but provided the material for an interesting performance: another artist offered to do it in the most literal way, using a 100 euro bill as an ingredient for their meal.
So in December 2013, “The Dinner” came to life as part of the group show “Gift as Problem” at the Group Global 3000 Art Space in Kreuzberg, Berlin.
I’ve once seen a friend rip a five dollar bill in two, and was most surprised by the reaction of utter shock from people watching it (later he told me he did the ripping by accident, and luckily found out it was ok to glue the pieces back together). It was quite interesting to witness the preparation and degustation of this curious meal. I didn’t see expressions of shock, but there was definitely a bit of a reverential mood, maybe the acknowlegment of being part of a forbidden and special ritual.
The green 100-euro bill ended up finely chopped and incorporated into the salad greens, which were served together with sauteed vegetables. Unfortunately the audience didn’t get to taste any of it, but the food smelled delicious and the two artists seemed to enjoy it very much.
At the end of the performance a couple of questions from the public required some research. The possible toxicity of ingesting money could not be clearly established, and at least one of the artists was slightly worried about it, but nonetheless willing to risk some mild poisoning for the sake of art.
Furthermore, is it really illegal to eat or otherwise destroy euro notes? We were suprised to find out that, unlike Australian or US dollars, it’s not against the law to destroy euros, as far as it’s not done in large amounts, and that European countries “must not encourage the mutilation of Euro notes or coins for artistic purposes, but they are required to tolerate it”. This was maybe slightly disappointing as we realized we haven’t taken part in a forbidden ritual after all. At least not in the strictly legal sense.
click to see the dinner invitation
Performance stills by Julia Masagão and Tom Albrecht
Wikipedia on destroying Euros
Menu: Chicoree salad, topped with sauteed garlic and tomatoes, then sprinkled with shredded 100€ note and coriander. Served with Chermoula dipping sauce on the side.
Group Global 3000 is a non-commercial artspace in Berlin Kreuzberg, dedicated to the theme of sustainability