The workshop/performance 'Thick smells, Thin Skins' (2014), activates the changing states of chocolate in the procedure of tempering chocolate to activate an affective site of radical transfer. Variations between the hardness and viscosity of chocolate correlate with changes in temperature and crystal structure, choreographies of tempering, the dense, wafting chocolate aroma and the associated milieu of eating chocolate, which abducts attention into an all-consuming consistency in the present.

In processes of tempering chocolate, a contour is scraped over a smooth marble stone, slowly cooling and thickening the chocolate in the turning and folding. Each scrape against the stone briefly exposes a sharp edged, vacuous contour that quickly caves, the chocolate pressing in at its soft edges with viscous weight. The tempering is a measured folding, lifting and turning where the duration with which the chocolate floods and closes off the contour signals a cue to contour again.

The long, dark workshop/performance space is wrapped in back-lit, tautly stretched, clear plastic sheeting—a hermetic containment for the intense smell in saturated and saturating air. Then the thick aroma floats the sound waves of a disembodied voice recording. In the listening, participants are invited to consume bite-sized pieces of tempered to feel the transition of brittle chocolate becoming heady, soft and coursing through the blood:

(audible breathing)  wAFT (inhale)


THICKness (exhale)

swEET (exhale) breathing (inhale)

rAIsing hAIrs (inhale)

HUmid between fingers,

now sweeT

on the wrisT (pause)

come clOser (inhale)

smell the chocOlate even more strOngly ... (exhale) ...

feels thicK (pause)

Coursing in blood, gathering in joints (pause)

between the toes (pause)

warm build-up (inhale)

Seeing is heavy and slow (pause)

the chocolate the residue eddies

folding (pause)

holding folds (pause)

gathering flUid (pause)

gummy gumming (pause)

guMMy  guMMING

     sticKing nasal passages, throat, ears and eyes? (inhale)

                       Are you drowning in it? (pause)

Or (pause)

do you swim through its sonic depth (exhale)

Finding nOTEs of cherry and bariTONE?

(low humming)