Interdisciplinary Conference


in Art & Science

27-29 September 2023, Malta Society of Arts, Valletta

Chili Pepper pleasure: Performative Tasting Meditation workshop
Event Hours: 28/09/2023 (12:00)
Location: Central Courtyard [Y]
Mariana Perez Bobadilla, Roland van Dierendonck
Keywords: bio art, pain and plasure, relational art, chili, capsaicin, food histories

A hedonistic experience in a chilli pepper-tasting and pairing event that aims to find the sweet spot between pain and pleasure. Diners will learn to understand the precise amount of capsaicin needed to release serotonin and experience the spicy sensations associated with it. The tasting will also explore how chili-spiciness relates to other flavours in order to achieve the characteristic compositions of regional cuisines and the pain-pleasure cultures associated with them, including carefully curated pepper pairings representative of local cuisines from ancient Aztec and Maya traditions, as well as recipes from Mesoamerica.
This Performative Tasting Meditation is an artistic practice as research of “Chili Pepper Pleasure,” the relationship between capsaicin (the active ingredient in chili peppers) and serotonin, the “love and happiness hormone”; the empirical learning experience consists of carefully curated pepper pairings in quantified, increasing levels of spiciness, exploring the limits of pleasure through pain. The experience offers an understanding of the biochemistry interaction of food and our brains, and the relation between stimulation, perception, subjectivity, and taste. It also delves into the cultural history of the pleasure of pain in cuisine where chili pepper is a central ingredient, increasing our literacy about their biochemical properties, wide varieties, and cultural adoption.

Registration required for active participation

Mariana Perez Bobadilla

Maro Pebo is a curator and artist specialist in the cultural dimensions of biology and medicine. Ph.D. in Creative Media, MA in Critical and Gender Studies. Her transdisciplinary work complements and transforms the life sciences' responsibility to think about the materiality of the living.

Her research and art has been displayed, presented, and published internationally. Her current research lines are, on the one hand, endosymbiosis, or how species evolve and survive together in trans-species relations, and on the other, decolonial practices and artistic archeologies of Mesoamerican knowledge.

Born in Mexico City and based in the Netherlands Maro Pebo currently curates exhibitions, projects, and events in art and science at Waag. She develops learning situations where artist-led research supports critical perspectives on technoscience.

Roland van Dierendonck

Roland van Dierendonck (NL, 1991) is an artist, biologist and PhD researcher at the Lab4Living, Sheffield Hallam University, translating human-microbe connections into sensory experiences using haptics (touch) and microscopy. Roland has had a long interest in food-related events and workshops, including the Ecosystematic Lunch (Utrecht, 2017), Jörð (2021) and the Riverbank Buffet (Linz, 2021).


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