G O V ‘ T cocktails

Yesterday’s tasty presentation of ‘Displaced Soils – The Geopolitical Cooking-Performances’ at Elia Zenghelis Workshop, Bartlett School of Architecture, London.


A collective performance, where guests have to eat and drink without hearing, brings clinical and territorial space together.

G O V ‘ T cocktails are served using 3 ingredients originated out of herbal medicine – Gin, Vermouth and Tonic – as well as the very essence of Mediterranean landscape: Olives. It takes place at the new building of the Bartlett School of Architecture, built in 1927 to house the first Ear Hospital in the UK.

Gin became popular in Dutch and Flemish modern era for treating stomach, kidney and muscular diseases. Dry vermouth was used as a medicinal libation in the 18th century. And tonic water was created as a carbonated soft drink to prevent Malaria in British colonial India through the quinine it contains. The existence of these three fluids was subject to a physical menace to the invaders’ physical health.

Olives impersonate Mediterraneanism, through which sovereignty over a territory has been linked to olive groves and the human presence they can empower or disempower. If for the Romans, olive trees were the most practical weapons to colonize non-fertile and vacant land, Israel today is uprooting Palestinian olive trees to erase any trace of historical villages.

Spain, Italy and Greece, main olive producers worldwide, have experienced intense corruption concerning EU subsidies for agriculture. These subsidies have constructed both real and fictional terrains. The amount of planted trees has often been faked through photoshopped aerial imagery to receive more financial aid. Recent formulas of re-thinking how to add speculative value to land go through the demarcation of new food landscape boundaries. The European Protected Designation of Origin Act (PDO) came into existence to certify that olives, amongst other products, belong and are produced in a certain area. Paradoxically, this process of ruralization has been happening simultaneously to the destruction of nature by the recent urban boom of the noughties. The microscopic essence of the olive kernels connects to a global dimension of territoriality and capital flows. Nature is mobilized as a contemporary war machine.

During the performance, guests will be required to use earplugs for their experience of eating and drinking, as a ‘voluntary violent act’ to amplify the experience of swallowing; they are invited to reorient themselves in space with an edible political map.


Many thanks to Adrian Lahoud and Beatriz Aragón for their kind support!!

more pictures here


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