The #Foodporn Process by Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp in front of his “roasted squab” bicycle wheel.
Marcel Duchamp with his “Squab Wheel”, 1913

Let us consider two important factors, the two poles of the creation of foodporn: the food blogger on the one hand, and on the other the follower who later hashtags the morsel on Instagram.

To all appearances, the food blogger acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond YouTube and TikTok, seeks his way out to a niche market.  If we give the attributes of a medium to the food blogger, we must then deny him the state of Internet presence on the social media plane about what he is doing or why he is doing it.  All his decisions in the “phone eats first, food gets cold” execution of the pic rest with pure intuition and cannot be translated into self-promotion – tagged or captioned, or even Googled.

T.S. Eliot, in his essay on “Traditional Drooling and Individual Gluttony,” writes:  “The more perfect the plating, the more completely separate in the pic will be the stomach that suffers and the tater tot knockoffs it creates; the more perfectly will social media digest and transmute the hashtags and captions which are its material.”

  • #tatertotnachos
  • #tatertotlasagna
  • #tatertotsushi

Millions of food bloggers create, only a few thousand are discussed or accepted by foodies, and many less again are consecrated by paid partnerships. 

In the last analysis, the food influencer may shout from all the rooftops that he is a game-changer: he will have to wait for the verdict of social media in order that his burger pics go viral and that, posterity includes him in the primers of Trending History.

I know that this statement will not meet with the approval of many food bloggers who refuse this mediumistic role and insist on the validity of their awareness in posting three times daily-yet, blogging history has consistently decided upon the virtues of a unicorn cake through considerations completely divorced from the Twitter wars of the blogger.

Painting of four green bean salads descending a green staircase.
Duchamp’s “Undressed Bean Salad Descending a Staircase” sparked a Twitter war with Picasso in 1912

If the food influencer, as a marketing tool, full of the best intentions toward himself and social media, plays no role at all in the judgement of his YouTube channel, how can one describe the phenomenon which prompts the spectator to food shame his pulled pork sandwich video?  In other words, how does this reaction come about?

This phenomenon is comparable to a transference from the blogger to the follower in the form of an esthetic osmosis taking place through the inert matter, such as pasta, pizza or rainbow bagels.

But before we go further, I want to clarify our understanding of the term “food porn” – to be sure without any attempt at creating an app.

What I have in mind is that food porn may be bad, luscious or mouth-watering, but, whatever adjective is used, we must call it food porn and bad food porn is still food porn in the same way that a bad churro is still a churro.

Therefore, when I refer to “food porn coefficient,” it will be understood that I refer not only to great food porn, but I am trying to describe the subjective mechanism which produces pantry meals in the raw state – à l’état brut – bad, good or canned.

Therefore, when I refer to “food porn coefficient,” it will be understood that I refer not only to great food porn, but I am trying to describe the subjective mechanism which produces pantry meals in the raw state – à l’état brut – bad, good or canned.

In the food porn process, the influencer goes from taco pic to carnitas hashtag through a chain of totally subjective reactions.  His struggle toward the realization is a series of interrupting other diners, rearranging the chips and salsa, not allowing anyone to take a bite, which cannot and must not be fully self-conscious, at least on the hashtag plane.

The result of this struggle is a difference between posting and going viral, a difference which the food blogger is not aware of.

Consequently, in the chain of reactions accompanying the post, a link is missing.  This gap, representing the inability of the blogger to fully express his intimate relationship with pastry, meat and salt, this difference between what he intended to post and what did post, is the personal “food porn coefficient” contained in the post.

In other words, the personal “food porn coefficient” is like an Instagram algorithm between the unsearched but intended and the unintentionally searched.

To avoid a misunderstanding, we must remember that this “food porn coefficient” is a personal expression of food porn à l’état brut.  The pic is still in a raw state, which must be “refined” as okonomiyaki from scrambled eggs by the follower.  As a result,  the digit of this coefficient has no bearing whatsoever on tapping the “like” button.  

Metal spatula mimicking marcel duchamp’s “prelude to a broken arm.”
“Prelude to a Broken Yolk” 1915

The food porn process takes another aspect when the follower experiences the phenomenon of salivating: through the change from cotton candy burrito into a work of food porn, an actual transubstantiation has taken place, and the role of the Instagram follower is to determine the weight of the empty calories on the “caption this” scale.

All in all, the food porn process is not leveraged by the blogger alone; the follower brings the post in contact with Pinterest, Reddit and Snapchat by deciphering and interpreting the food’s “Yummy” factor and thus adds his contribution to the food porn process.  This becomes even more obvious when Google reviews gives the final verdict and sometimes rehabilitates sushi in burrito form.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

2 thoughts on “The #Foodporn Process by Marcel Duchamp

  1. I think that food porn imposes on the food I cook an unrealistic expectation of attactiveness. It’s bad enough to eat my own cooking without adding despair to the food…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very thoughtful of you to consider your food’s well being, masercot. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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