andreas Loeschner-Gornau





"Don't talk with your mouth full!" - 1999 + 2016

'Don't talk with your mouth full!', ……….my mother said at table.

'Why ?', I asked, anxious to learn. At first just ignored, later my objections were followed by a sharp blow with a spoon on my fingers - and the question was never asked again. Sometimes, my mother`s pedagogic lecture on the theory and practice of eating was also reduced to the gesture with the spoon. The 'Why ?' was frozen right on the tip of my tongue. The question was locked in my head and searched through all the convolutions of the brain for an answer without ever finding one. Despite the good table manners, an unbearable intellectual hunger remained until eventually the part of the brain which is responsible for the word 'why' became stunted.

Many years later I tried, with the aid of a research team, to answer the question 'why one should not talk while eating'. Among other things we discovered that animals never talk while they eat and can, therefore, perfectly fulfil the expectations and standards of their mother's eating culture. But isn't the ability to communicate, as well as the development and usage of language, the crucial criterion to distinguish between human and animal ?

So a research project exploring the 'speaking while eating Homo Sapience' was organized. We started with eating as much as we could while talking at the same time. The first tests showed that especially with fluid food like soups and the like it was extremely difficult to keep it in your mouth and talk at the same time. Yet if you bend your head a little bit backwards, it's easier to keep the food in your mouth but speaking at the same time still produces rather unintelligible gurgling sounds. As an alternative solution we developed a sign-language which enabled us to communicate at table - despite the restrictions of the simultaneous use of eating tools. Unfortunately, this method is still rather unknown and so it would seem that it must remain impossible to communicate by means of language at table. With this presentation, we now want to make the results of our research accessible to the public.

The new technique, the speaking slide, gives acoustic insight into the inner world of foodstuffs in the immediate context of their own inter-cellular processes. The Super 8 cine-film viewer exposes relationships that were not perceptible with the naked eye. The examination of risks related to selected table manners in the context of human efforts to communicate is given priority here.

These innovations made it finally possible to order the formerly impenetrable material efficiently and to transform it (by way of linking it to sounds) into a scientifically intelligible form that would also be accessible to future generations.

You are, therefore, most cordially invited to the presentation of 'Don`t talk with your mouth full' and we are looking forward to our joint experiments in our cultural laboratory.


'Don't talk with your mouth full!'

Although the title seems to satirize the work, it unifies both media, image and sound, in a most charming way. The images - an archival work - insistently democratic. The sounds, not chosen to illustrate, but to prevent associations with noises at table, were sought out in strange places to be used as possible backgrounds. The resulting constellations, oddly full of friction, are the subject of the present work.

The presentation of the installation (having `food` as its theme) took place in Düsseldorf (NRW Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft) from 1st - 3rd October 1999 and was sponsored by VOX


Andreas Loeschner-Gornau earthly, global and vegan Artist / Who needs still political borders and politicians?