Just talk to me, before you eat me

December 2017

Performance-therapy about compulsive eating

In collaboration with artist Ming Mei Ip

Context

Compulsive eating is a psychological and severe life-threatening eating disorder described by the ingestion of an abnormally large amount of food in short time period, followed by an attempt to avoid gaining weight by purging what was consumed. 

Ming Mei has been suffering of it and, has she is coming out of it. She is now ready to share her experience with the rest of the world. 

Annie Maheux is interested in the various relationships people have with food. This one is a passionate love-and-hate, confrontational, sometimes oppressive relationship. 

Ming brings the words and actions, Annie bring the food and the playground. The discussion starts.

Eating disorders often refer to a feeling of shame and body awareness. Annie was curious to know why Ming Mei had approached her for a food performance, in front of an audience. Ming Mei replied, in an interview prior to the collaboration:

"Why do I need the audience?

I want to reveal myself. I need the audience's joint attention to gain deeper awareness and acute presence. To bring me closer to the here and now. To stir the thrills of seeing and being seen. I need the audience's presence to experience unconditional love for myself. To practice overcoming the fear of judgement and inadequacy. To feel that I have a voice. That it takes space. That I al allowed to take space.

To trust that beyond what is thought of me, my delivery and expression is valuable and important. To practice loving myself beyond success and failure. I need the audience to share, connect and find resonance. To touch the hearts of those that want to walk alongside. Those are yearning for an art that is healing, brave and authentic, and closer to their truth.

I need the audience so that my authenticity can touch your authenticity. I need the audience so that my heart can experience relatedness and contribution. "

Description of performance

A recipe-making performance of Energy Balls (see recipe) with one performer (Ming Mei Ip). While being limited in her movements by wool strings attached to anxiety-provoking food, she communicates her fears and joys about eating to the audience. The text is improvised, yet based on real life perceptions. The food gains personnality has she talks to it, plays with it. It is as much a choregraphy with a edible objects in a confine space as a one-woman show intimate monologue. Annie Maheux designed the space, food choices and was co-creator of the performance concept. The performance is presented in safe spaces, where acceptance and compassion bound performer and audience.

Some readings

Plenty more, by Yotam Ottolenghi, 2014.

The Yoga of Eating, by Charles Eisenstein, 2003.

Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, by Geneen Roth, 2011.

Women, Food, and Desire: Embrace Your Cravings, Make Peace with Food, Reclaim Your Body, by Alexandra Jamieson, 2015.

Hungry For Happiness - One Woman's Journey From Fighting Food To Finding Freedom: How To End Binge Eating, Forever, by Samantha Skelly, 2017.

Adieu régime, bonjour la vie! Pour en finir avec le culte de la minceur, by Marie-France Lalancette, 2007.

La Faim du vide, by Jacques Vigne, 2012.

Association québécoise d'aide aux personnes souffrant d'anorexie nerveuse et de boulimie (ANEB-Québec), ou tél.: 1-800-630-0907. Seul organisme au Québec abordant cette problématique, l'ANEB organise des groupes de soutien pour les personnes souffrant d'un trouble alimentaire. Des groupes sont aussi destinés à la famille et l'entourage. Elle opère aussi une ligne d'écoute et de référence (du lundi au vendredi, de 9 h à 21 h) et un forum sur son site Internet.

Institut Douglas, ou tél.: 514-761-6131, poste 2895. Services cliniques spécialisés, internes et externes, bilingues, aux adultes de 18 à 64 ans. Son programme des troubles de l'alimentation est reconnu dans le monde pour sa qualité et son approche multidisciplinaire.

www.beingming.com

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