The Host: On Bread and Tea

“Fancy a cuppa?”
For Gaze’s last event of the 2021 academic year, we are very excited to be able to invite you to an in-person conversation and nourishing exploration of bread and tea.

From the phrase “breadwinner” to “breadtree”, “bread” appears as the basic metonym for what is considered “food”. Similarly foundational, tea spans cultures as a universally enjoyed drink. Yet, though delightfully simple, the consumption of bread and tea can vary drastically across cultures and communities.
What led bread and tea to become such staples across so many cultures, connecting humanity in a universal bond? And what other staples can we identify across cultures? What staples are unique to your culture?

With these and many more questions in mind, Gaze invites you to a (free) afternoon tea time as we celebrate the fundamental staples that have sustained us through history. We are delighted to be joined by cultural studies lecturer Jonathan Gill to question ‘food authenticity’, and we are honoured to be led through an introduction to Japanese tea ceremonies by Erika Mier y Teran Yamamoto, an avid student of cultural and environmental anthropology, and a practitioner of tea.

When: 1300-1500, Tuesday 22nd June
Where: FramerFramed (5 minutes cycle from the dorms; meet in front of Middle Building) (that’s right – we’re going zoom-free (woop!!))

“Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.”

  • Okakura Kakuzo from “Book of Tea”

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Savouring the Sweet Flavours of Grapes

Accompanied by the intricate tones of a delightful range of wines, we sipped, we pondered, and we uncovered the fascinating melody of complexity that underpins the staple simplicity of grapes. Thank you to everyone who joined us for our evening of wine-tasting and conversation – we hope you enjoyed gently tippling through a wonderful summer evening as much as we did!
And special thanks to Dr. Minou Schraven for guiding us through the history of grapes throughout culture and art – the insightful presentation on grapes and art can be found here, and you can explore Gaze’s own slides here.

Eager to discover even more flavours of wine? Check out a recipe to make your very own Mulsum wine below (best served with an indulgent chocolate dessert!)

Mulsum Recipe
Ingredients

  • 2 bottles of cheap red wine
  • 5 grams cinnamon
  • 5 grams ginger
  • 3 grams pepper
  • 3 grams thyme
  • 4 tablespoons of honey
  1. Mix the honey and herbs in with one glass of red wine
  2. Cook the mixture until all the honey has dissolved
  3. Cover the mixture and leave it to cool overnight
  4. When ready to drink, add the rest of the wine and stir to mix – enjoy!

Shadows and Gestures: The Lurking Presence of a Necessary Absence

Mei,

The month of susuwatari (ススワタリ, 煤渡り; “wandering soot”) passed as quickly as the elusive dark itself.

The phenomenon deprives us of certainty, and yet (or perhaps therefore) so much can be spoken about it. Indeed, we spoke of it in a myriad of ways. We glued shards of pottery together with gold to celebrate the moment they were liberated from their precarious fate as they hit the ground. Mountains and whirlpools rose from the retreat of white salt on a black surface. We printed portraitures of flowers by letting them shield the ink-soaked paper from light. Plastic filters covered the lamps and painted our rooms with vibrant colors. Hatching off the light that bounced off of a white circle, we learned to draw spheres. Carved out of a sheet of paper, silhouettes of imaginary creatures identical to the holes that they have left emerged. These puppets and their stories then came to life through casting shadows on the wall. Even from just our bent and conjoined fingers, a carnival of nocturnal animals sprung about. Movements of the hands then became signs, at times intuitive, other times enigmatic gestures that conveyed words and sentences. 

Let me ask you a question: 

“___ is stronger than God.

___ is more evil than Evil.

If you eat ___, you will die.

What is ___?”

The answer: Nothing. Sometimes we fear recess. Perhaps we fear incompletion and imperfection, like a crack on porcelain that can never be fully concealed. Perhaps we fear that it will annihilate us into its nothingness. But sometimes nothingness itself seems to carry such an immense presence whose nature we do not comprehend. Sometimes nothing weighs as heavily as silence, and nothing startles a child more than the darkness that lies beneath their bed, or the shadow that stalks right behind them in dusk. 

Baba-dook, dook, dook! 

To make it worse, the border between nothing and something is everything but defined. Night gradually shifts into day, graphite into empty paper (and how ironic it is that the bright area is the ‘empty’ area). The moon wanes and gains night by night. Rabbits jump in and out, constantly alternating between the underworld and the terrain exposed by broad daylight.

Fearing the dark that looms over our cities, we have brought upon ourselves an eternal wakefulness— “from candle to oil lamp, oil lamp to gaslight, gaslight to electric light—his quest for a brighter light never ceases, he spares no pains to eradicate even the minutest shadow.” (Junichirō Tanizaki from In Praise of Shadows). We have even come up with skyscrapers which, even as they soar into the sky, do not cast shadows on the streets through reflecting the sunlight towards one another.

May, the month of Shadow passed as quickly as the elusive dark itself.

Yet somewhere, even as it is being pushed further into the fringe of a day before the dawn breaks, into the cracks between pavements and other nooks and crannies of unblinking cities, into times and places that we are not consciously aware of, it remains with us.

In absence the shadow approaches us, haunts us, consoles us, embraces us, repels us, reflects us with its monumental presence.

And if that is so, if a sheet of paper is made of pulp but it is on its blank surface where we write our thoughts, if words consist of letters and signs but it is the spaces between them that separate them into words, if speech is uttered in voice but it is the silence of the listener that maintains a conversation, if music is discerned through noises but it is the pauses that create rhythm, if a circle is drawn with a line but it is the space which the line engirdles that forms the area, if a pot is fashioned with clay but it is the hollow that makes it work, and if, for all the pleasant and exotic aromas in the world withstanding, the reason we never get tired of oxygen is because it smells of nothing, if, for all the delightful   in the world withstanding, the reason we never get tired of water is because it tastes of nothing, whereas if a pair of eyes face hours of direct sunlight become blind, if ears that are exposed to constant noise become deaf, if a joke that is explained at lengths ceases to be funny, and if a sentence that is too long loses its reader, we must ask ourselves: What is being conveyed without being spoken of?

Yours sincerely,

HK

Vintage: ✨🍷An Evening of Grape-Themed Conversation and Wine-Tasting 🍷✨


June 9th, 1900-2030
Wine and Dine supplies – €7,50


Throughout classical mythology, religious texts, and secular revelling, grapes have been viewed as a symbol for luxuriant hedonism and the delights of natural indulgence. Whether enjoyed fresh, dried, pressed, or conserved in jams and jelly, a human delight in the juicy flavours of grapes is almost as old as civilization itself, and their simple forms of wonderful richness have rolled their way throughout artistic masterpieces with both the weight of complex and an un-ostentatious aesthetic value.
Join us as we welcome SPECIAL GUEST Dr. Minou Schraven in exploring the taste of grapes in arts and mythology through curious conversation and some luxuriant wine tasting!
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Through the Eyes of Another

A delightful short story that meticulously combines a curious whimsy with fascinating philosophical questions of the nature of experience and our lives of gazing – from the pen of our very own Event Organiser and Secretary, Hyunsuh Kim!

With a unique voice of light playfulness, “Through the Eyes of Another” explores the significance of sight within our understanding of existence. In another, very similar universe, a single gene mutation led a single bundle of the eggs of a simple gilled sea creature to evolve a vision enabling sight in all directions; with superior vision, the “Eyes” developed a radically altered vision of reality, and everything changed…

Playing in the Shadows

Thank you to everyone who joined us in our Shadow Puppet workshop, investigating how the obscurity of shadow figures can be manipulated to construct fantastical narratives of intriguing mystery and unbounded possibilities!
Did you miss the workshop but feel inspired by the wonderful shadow puppets created? Don’t worry! You can find our workshop slides here to guide you through making your very own shadow puppets!


Gestures: Play and Purpose

With silent complexity, gestures form languages of internal recognition and express unique traits to mark an isolated quirk of individual identity. Characterised by a personality we ultimately cannot control, gestures are nonetheless manipulated on a daily basis for constructive purpose and within a relaxation of playful entertainment.
Explore the extensive world of expression through the visible language of our motions in our collaboration with PLAYUC as we are joined by SPECIAL GUEST Ulrika Klomp in an investigation of gestures!
Wednesday 28th April, 1500-1630
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The Silent Sounds of Shadows

Murky in visibility, perhaps the theme of Shadow is best explored through senses other than sight…
Dive into an eclectic collection of shadow-themed music to investigate the mystery of featureless form through sound with our playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7w7AT81fanazBAVvdvAwF2…


*The playlist is collaborative, so please feel free to add your own suggestions!!

Emerging From the Rabbit Hole

Thank you to everyone who joined us in our “Down The Rabbit Hole” conversation! It was fascinating to explore how the eclipsing obscurity of shadows have infiltrated myths to develop peculiar relationships with the rabbits that scurry in the mystery of undergrowth and hop gracefully to lunar heights. In inevitable accompaniment, we find the shadows weaving their signature into the music of our culture, and shaping the very cities in which we live, defining our embodied experience of physical environment.

Special thanks to Dr. Lourens Minnema for joining us in conversation, and sharing his expertise!

Want to continue the adventurous exploration of compelling intrigue? You can take a look at the slides here.

And you can enjoy a selection of our ‘Blackout Poems’ below; find creative entertainment in developing a poem of your own using the template available here!

Shadow Puppet Workshop

Across cultures, from antiquity to the present, the simple combination of flat figures and a single beam of light have been used to manipulate a wonderful world of fantastical imagination, weaving tales of delightful intricacy…

Join our Shadow Puppet Workshop to construct your very own narrative of obscurity using the darkness of silhouettes to explore a baffling paradox of shadows – a simultaneous exposure and concealment which dances with mysterious ambiguity in the play of undefined features!
Wednesday 21st April, 2100-2230
Zoom

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