Throughout April and May 2020 Gasworks presents a series of online screenings of artist films commissioned for our exhibitions programme over the last few years. Featuring works by Monira Al Qadiri, Louis Henderson & Filipa César, and Maryam Jafri, each piece will be available to stream on Gasworks’ website for one week and is accompanied by interviews with the artists, audio lectures and reviews.
The third in this series of screenings, Maryam Jafri's short film Mouthfeel explores the politics underpinning the industrial production of food, connecting themes as diverse as “big food”, flavour enhancement technology and overconsumption.
Mouthfeel (21:34 min, 2K HD video with sound) combines staged and found footage to unravel the politics surrounding the mass production of processed food. The staged scenes are based on an original script by the artist and focus on the conversations of a married couple who work for the same food multinational – a cross between Nestlé and Monsanto. Their exchange is inspired by theatre and television, where socio-political analysis is played out through everyday, familial dialogue with large doses of humour, hypocrisy and violence.
Set in the near future, the wife, a leading food technologist, and the husband, a senior brand manager, find themselves stuck in a chauffeur-driven stretch limo at a security checkpoint in an unspecified global city. The wife, played by Jafri, has uncovered a potential health problem with their new product, which her husband is determined to cover up. Along with excerpts of found footage sourced from different countries in the global south and which act as “commercial breaks”, these scenes address themes of convenience, good taste and the disparities between mass and artisanal forms of production.
Mouthfeel was presented in the exhibition of the same name, which took place at Gasworks from 21 March until 18 May 2014 and was the artist's first solo show in London. READ MORE
Mouthfeel was commissioned by Gasworks in partnership with steirischer herbst festival 2014, produced by Spike Film and Video and supported by the Danish Arts Foundation. Maryam Jafri was also in residence at Delfina Foundation at the same time a Mouthfeel as part of The Politics of Food.
Press and additional resources
Jafri, a Pakistani-American artist, avoids depicting hackneyed one-sided power-relations between western/eastern, global/local and artisan/industrialised, and stays true to a world in which the cultural and economic interests and role-plays are in constant flux. - Keren Goldberg for Art Review.
You can also read an exhibition review 'Don't eat that!' on Kelise Soixante-Douze.
Maryam Jafri is an artist born in Pakistan and based between New York and Copenhagen. Her research-based work explores the visual representations of history, focusing on issues such as the politics of food production, the rituals of nascent nation-states, cultural memory and copyright law. Recent solo exhibitions include the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; ICA Los Angeles (both 2019); Van Abbemuseum, Eindoven (2016); Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2016); Kunsthalle Basel (2015); and Gasworks, London (2014). Her work has also featured at the Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art (2018); the São Paulo Biennial (2016); and the Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2015).