By Audrey Culp, Katie Miller, Jay Purdy, and Brandon Joyce.
Video By Leslie Salazar, Background Music by Rob Francisco
Originally, we had a very different scheme and criterion in mind for our little food-themed routine at Nexus gallery. In the beginning, the objective was: take some segment of our daily routine— in this case, breakfast— and perform the action in world-record time. Through shrewdness, maneuver, and muscle memory, we wanted to continually shave off seconds, invent and hone techniques, and synchronize every last movement, until we could create a full American-style breakfast in under five minutes… Pancakes, juice, coffee, toast, bloody maries, and eggs sunny-side up.
This speed-transformation was to be the perfection of an everyday ritual— something that could outlive the performance, and be continually perfected for years to come, in actual kitchens and living rooms, in everyday life. The gallery performance was just a good motivating factor.
However, once we started timing and tightening the parts of the breakfast routine, and coordinating a little, we quickly realized that it was not very visual, or very fun, or really anything different than what Center City lunch-cart chefs do on a daily basis. That is, speed-transformations would only be transformative for rituals that are usually done slowly, like assembling IKEA furniture or carving intricate sculptures from hard woods.
So our criteria shifted. Our mechanical efficiency gave way to sillier, fractured actions— though still in a fairly tight choreography— and the breakfast transformation became more fun, more outwardly performative, and transformative in a more Buster Keaton fashion. Things became a little more synthetic than analytic, parts were added for our own pleasure, and rather than being held to the single criterion of speed, the routine now had room for endless, unnecessary growth. For more bells and whistles, more parlor tricks and kitchen legerdemain— more goofing off.
Once we completed the performance, someone clocked us. The time: 4 minutes and 5 seconds. After all that, our initial criterion still fit neatly inside our pockets.
I discovered this two nights later, and realized how high the mark has been set by the Master.