Making faces out of food is a practice as common as eating. An extensive number of visual representations, ranging from artworks (such as the well–known imaginative portraits by the Italian painter Arcimboldo, as well as several experiments in contemporary photography) to religious images (such as the famous Pastafarianism’s Flying Spaghetti Monster), from object design to marketing communication, etc., feature faces made of foods. Even more interestingly, food has been the object of several acts of pareidolia: first spotted by a customer in 1996, the “Nun Bun”, a cinnamon roll baked at the Bongo Java Coffee Shop in Nashville, became famous worldwide for its resemblance to Mother Teresa of Calcutta; in 2004 Diana Duyser’s 10–year–old grilled cheese sandwich bearing the likeness of the Virgin Mary was bought on eBay by the Golden Palace Casino for $28,000; in 2011, as Kate Middleton was about to get married to Prince William, a 25–year–old British man and his girlfriend found her “portrait” on a jelly bean, which was later sold at an auction with an opening bid of £ 500. And several other examples could be added to this list. Such cases are particularly interesting, as they recall crucial issues related to the processes of meaning–making underlying “non man–made” facial images: who or what is their author? Do they suppose any form of intentionality? What can be said about the Model Reader they establish? And what are the effects of meaning deriving from them? This paper addresses these questions, as well as other fundamental issues concerning spontaneous facial images, by focusing on a series of relevant case studies related to the emergence of the face in food visual patterns.

Facing Food: Pareidolia, Iconism, and Meaning

STANO, Simona
2021

Abstract

Making faces out of food is a practice as common as eating. An extensive number of visual representations, ranging from artworks (such as the well–known imaginative portraits by the Italian painter Arcimboldo, as well as several experiments in contemporary photography) to religious images (such as the famous Pastafarianism’s Flying Spaghetti Monster), from object design to marketing communication, etc., feature faces made of foods. Even more interestingly, food has been the object of several acts of pareidolia: first spotted by a customer in 1996, the “Nun Bun”, a cinnamon roll baked at the Bongo Java Coffee Shop in Nashville, became famous worldwide for its resemblance to Mother Teresa of Calcutta; in 2004 Diana Duyser’s 10–year–old grilled cheese sandwich bearing the likeness of the Virgin Mary was bought on eBay by the Golden Palace Casino for $28,000; in 2011, as Kate Middleton was about to get married to Prince William, a 25–year–old British man and his girlfriend found her “portrait” on a jelly bean, which was later sold at an auction with an opening bid of £ 500. And several other examples could be added to this list. Such cases are particularly interesting, as they recall crucial issues related to the processes of meaning–making underlying “non man–made” facial images: who or what is their author? Do they suppose any form of intentionality? What can be said about the Model Reader they establish? And what are the effects of meaning deriving from them? This paper addresses these questions, as well as other fundamental issues concerning spontaneous facial images, by focusing on a series of relevant case studies related to the emergence of the face in food visual patterns.
37-38
487
502
Food; Face; Pareidolia; Iconism; Meaning
STANO, Simona
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1782572
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