Feeding to be Eaten

“No, I gave you Jerr to see him eaten, not to see you fed,” corrects Brendan, played by Jason Gordon-Levitt, in the 2005 neo noir film Brick. A general theme in the untitled Sanne project is consummation of appetites, and this particular line from Brick helped me problematize theme of perspectives on desire in the second piece in the series, "Dirty."

Brendan makes a clever statement on the discrepancy between desires, and that the existence of this discrepancy does not preclude both parties being satisfied, even if the satisfaction of the other was not intended. Two people can view the same situation from opposite perspectives being at odds on the motive behind the action—"eating" vs. "feeding"—but can still come together because the end goal is the same.

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In the case of Brick, Brendan cooperated with the principal’s office, feeding them information on a drug dealer, for his own selfish reasons so he could see him caught and punished—be "eaten"—and not feeding them information to satisfy their needs—to see them "fed." Being "eaten" and "fed" are linked by the thing which is given/consumed, in this case the drug dealer, Jerr. Additionally, what underlies this relationship between "eating" and "feeding" is hunger or appetite for something.

In the second piece of the project, "Dirty," Sanne consumes him for a second time, and he enjoys being consumed, meaning Sanne consumes him because she enjoys "eating him," not because she desires to physically pleasure him, or see him "fed." He, on the other hand, wants to be "fed," and he is starving for physical intimacy. The line above from Brick helped me become more aware of the play between eating and feeding, and assisted framing some of the language in the piece both in literal and figurative terms around hunger. Sanne calls him, ostensibly, one week later after kickboxing because she needs to return his shirt and suggests they eat together, the latter of which can be understood literally, because exercise consumes energy, and figuratively because of her sexual appetite; he contemplates how "cooked" Sanne is and how action "feeds" memory while stirring vegetables for a meal that will nourish both of them.

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And yet no matter how much Sanne controls what happens, she is still dependent on his largely passive participation, his conforming to her cues, his cooperation. He, on the other hand, is dependent on her  initiative to feed his passive sexuality.  Moreover, just as in Brick, the difference between the two characters is how they perceive the encounter, and what "gets them off"—being "eaten" or "fed." However, often times there is little distinction between the two, especially since one often entails the other and being fed frequently leads to a desire to consume, or in other words, the passive act of being fed teaches us how to actively feed ourselves.

Thus, in the end, it’s not as simple as either "eating" or being "‘fed," but an issue of mapping how these two traits are encountered throughout one’s life and how they are balanced. This balance may be a place where one seeks to enjoy because they give pleasure to the other and themselves; a kind of "feeding to be eaten" where the duality of the term "feeding" is embraced through the act of consuming and being the center of pleasure for someone else to "take a bite out of," or "eat." Such murky concepts and formulations are difficult to convey in writing because they shift with action and hence it is a continuous challenge for me to convey them.