Most Mechanics Are Crooks: Quinoa


Kostis Stafylakis with Eva Giannakopoulou, Alexis Fidetzis, Panos Sklavenitis

Performance In the context of Weasel Dance | The mimetic in the post-digital predicament, Goethe-Institut Athens, March 26, 2019

The performance “Quinoa” draws upon the rapid success of gastronomy reality-TV shows, such as “Master Chef”. This success reflects on the paradoxical dreams and fears of the collapsing middle class in countries such as Greece: the anticipation for more luxury coexisting with the fear of losing access to desired goods and imagined lifestyle due to the recent economic collapse. The casualization of quinoa in Greek cuisine is a paradigmatic instantiation of this dubious impulse.


The performance takes place around a cooking bench. The four “Mechanics” prepare a meal in the form of a protein bomb consisting mostly of cold cuts. The action begins to mimic the style of a particular subcategory of YouTube and instagram vloggers: Bodybuilders such as Blessing Awodibu, munching on protein powder, throwing it all over the place, bathing in it.


The action syncs with a projection showing an animation with the figures of the four mechanics making statements in colorful comic strips. Popular phrases from the vocabulary of gastronomy TV shows are employed to mirror the fetishistic impulse for detail, culinary perfection and delicacy. Food is subjectivized in phrases such as “leave it rest for a while”. In the performance, such phrases are combined with statements praising the extrovert character of the contemporary Greek Art scene, highlighting the proliferation of local fantasies for an artistic career in the cultural field.