Day-to-Day Data
Tony Kemplen
Title: Eating pizza while watching the news
Location: Page-based commission for the Publication

On 8 March 2005 Tony rigorously documented the process of eating his favourite pizza supper while watching the evening news. For the publication, he has compiled the two data sets collected (number of bites and news headlines) onto a series of thirty numbered thumbnail images. These small images run throughout the publication on the bottom left corner of nearly every other page. The thumbnails can be viewed in quick succession as a flick book style moving image of his pizza being demolished. Alternatively they can be studied in detail, with help from the full-page colour key, to decipher what the sometimes ambiguous headlines might refer to.
colour detail from Eating pizza while watching the news
colour detail from Eating pizza while watching the news
Old habits die hard, and one of mine over the last 15 years has been eating pizza while watching the evening news on the TV. There have been various artistic by-products from this activity, including a series of Leaning towers of pizza collages and an artist’s book Margherita margereater, the latter leading a reviewer in Art Monthly to comment that, if nothing else, someone should save me from my diet (rather unfairly in my view, as I only do it twice a week, and augment the basic pizza with carefully chosen nutritious extras).

On Tuesday 8 March 2005, a normal day, which also happened to be my mother’s 75th birthday, I set up a video camera to record the progress on my plate, and arranged the video recorder to tape the news. This raw data was painstakingly transcribed and annotated to come up with a series of sound bites and still frames to document the precise moment when each portion entered my mouth.

Each bite of the pizza was accompanied by a nugget of news; tomatoes with an alleged IRA murder, mushrooms meet Michael Jackson, sweet corn and the seed corn of Chinese democracy, olives and killer blood clots, chillies with the fiery special effects of the long awaited new series of Dr Who, and extra cheese for Charles and Camilla.

Georges Perec, the habitual chronicler of the mundane, died a few days short of his 46th birthday. In his publication Attempt at an Inventory of the Liquid and Solid Foodstuffs Ingurgitated by Me in the Course of the Year Nineteen Hundred and Seventy-Four, he admits to having eaten only one pizza. Writing this a few days before my own 46th birthday, I am comforted by the thought that if Perec’s death was related to the paucity of pizza in his diet, my 100 per year habit might not be such a bad thing after all.

Tony Kemplen
April 2005

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