project image
Laurynas Skeisgiela

first performed on August 7, 2019
Editorial Project Space, Vilnius, Lithuania
performed twice in 2019


Vilnius, Lithuania / Brussels, Belgium


“Five Course Meal for Collective Reading” is a collaboration between a sister and a brother, artist Goda Palekaitė and chef Jonas Palekas. It talks about the mechanisms beyond official versions of history and the agency of collective imagination. It invites the audience to become members of a ritualistic eating-reading group. Performance includes a script for numerous characters, written by G. Palekaitė, and five meals prepared by J. Palekas in front of the audience.

Upon the arrival to a horizontally arranged space covered with Soviet-Oriental carpets, each member is welcomed by the author and offered a role of a historical character. There are as many roles in the script as there are audience members. Each member is asked to read a small part aloud, no preparation, performance skills, or talent needed. The characters include Ancient Greek poetess Sappho, Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, failed French colonial anthropologist yet successful surrealist writer Michel Leiris, and many others whose existences resisted and questioned cultural clichés and political impositions. The interest lies in narratives, stories, and characters of diverse identities, which operated outside the discourses of power and were seen as troublemakers or antiheroes.

In a simultaneously factual and fictional, precise and absurd conversation, everyone present performs something in between a theatrical rehearsal, a collective reading, and a dinner in a friend’s dining room. The themes make a collage of facts, thoughts, dreams, and gossip, which reveal layers of contemporary issues: from the politics of historical narratives to the legacy of post-orientalism, from our feminist ancestors to the promise of anarchism. Meanwhile, five special dishes created purposefully for this script are offered to taste and share while sharing the voices of history:

“This ancient breed of taimen, a fish from the salmon family, was found in a special container buried in the saltiest part of the Caspian Sea. It remained almost undamaged because of the special fermentation technique, which Khazars called ‘1000 years of fish.’ Since the seventh century, it assured them of keeping their food preserved, in case of a global disaster and the extinction of the species. In fact, this breed of taimen has become extinct in 1946. Tonight we do not propose to eat the taimen but to eat with him.”

The performance was first presented at the Editorial Project Space in Vilnius, as a part of the “Doppelgänger” series. Since then, it has continued traveling through European cities.