How to bake a swan (2017-2020)

A performance lecture as a direct and personal response to the article “Swan Bake. Asylum seekers steal queen’s swans for barbeques” printed in “The Sun” newspaper (UK). The article has been written in 2003, one year before the former Easter Block countries such as Check Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined European Union. Cyprus and Malta were also amongst the countries that joined the EU in the same year. Shifting from one union to the other these countries were met with hostility from their wealthier counterparts. Fears of immigration and cheap labour influx generated an array of urban myths regarding immigrants or asylum-seekers.  Amongst them, the most popular ones seemed to be based on the idea of unacceptable habits that the migrants bring with them, it was often said that ‘THEIR’ values aren’t aligned with ‘OURS’. To reinforce this statement as well as to pick up on the ‘popular beliefs’ amongst a common folk (as one article stated) a range of stories were fabricated. An urban myth connected to other culture’s eating habits seemed to be a historically favourable topic. From infamous stories about dogs and cats being killed for Chinese takeaways, these tales evolved into a framework that has been applied to target minority communities, and generated myths such as Eastern-European migrants eating protected swans or African asylum-seekers (Somalis in this case) stealing donkeys for food.

Materials: Swan cake with red sponge and jam capsule inside, oven mittens, knife, plates.

MARIJA NEMČENKO ARŽANYCH