Eastside Projects, Birmingham
November, 2010

Bone Dinner was a commission from Birmingham-based curators Companis. It took the form of a dinner that was also a jewellery performance and sound installation.

The original Bone Dinner was a meal served by Gordon Matta-Clark at Food, his restaurant in Soho, New York in 1971. All of the dishes served contained bones, or referenced bones in some way. Companis sought to explore Matta-Clark's work and the atmosphere that he might have created at Food, by staging a recreation of his menu with a modern interpretation.

Our menu comprised seven courses that interpreted the theme, some more literally than others. Lamb chops from Berkswell Meats were served rare as finger food, chickens were 'carved' at the table by Josh with a cleaver, and a bone marrow bread and butter pudding completed the feast. Our favourite course featured a slick of herb-scented aspic, stencilled onto a tile in the form of a spine, to be licked by the diner. Dipa Patel, our intern at the time, designed a lazer-cut spine stencil for the purpose.

Also working on the project were Elizabeth Short, a Birmingham-based jeweller who took the bones from the early-evening canapés and worked them into pieces that could be worn away from the event by the diner who had originally gnawed them. Alongside Elizabeth, Juneau Projects provided sound design for the event, wiring a large pile of bones for sound, into which diners were instructed to throw any bones that remained on their plates. This sound was then mixed live and played back into the room.

The Menu

Selected bones, bacon, apple, thyme

Rack of lamb, rosemary, lavender

Veal broth, beetroot, tarragon, orange

Prawn and its skeleton, broccoli, radish

Chicken aspic, mint, lemon thyme

Roast chicken, pumpkin, leek, mushroom, hazelnut

Bone marrow and brioche duck egg bread and butter
pudding, quince, lemon, crème fraîche


All images by Chris Keenan

Watch a film of Matta-Clark's original Food here:

This event was kindly supported by Eastside Projects and Fierce Festival's Arts Council funded 'Platinum' artist-practitioner development programme.