The final room of the visit is ‘Offscreen’. It contains seven short essays accompanied by a very discreet soundscape. Again, I write about the same foods, but with a reflexive tone. The research-creation process loops back on itself and allows for the return of a more intellectual and possibly traditional approach. I have nonetheless tried to preserve multimodal and polyphonic writing. The essays resonate within themselves and with the material of the other spaces of the work, taking on the same themes and stories, but with a different angle. For example, I recount how I had to physically manipulate and prepare different foods for the making of the work, or I reflect on the paradoxes of the digital representation of material objects. I also mix genres and weave a poem into each of the texts to avoid a rigid theoretical discourse. This use of a different genre signals the status of the text: it states that here, words have layered meanings. Again, the visitor’s input is required since they are expected to actively project themselves into an open interpretation.
As a whole, the structure of SDV is ‘rhizomatic’ (Deleuze & Guattari 1980), relying on links and resonances between different components. These relations remain implicit, to be deciphered. The enigmatic poems or the fragmentary narrations allow the visitor to fill in the blanks—or not. To support this interpretative activity, I favor a slow delivery of content, including silence at some points. If there is some reiteration or a tentative explanatory discourse, it serves to shed different lights on the same object, to promote multi-modality, to be open to various angles. What is the significance of a raspberry? This question arises at many points in SDV, but the answers are varied, and none is definitive. They may refer to the senses, a certain disposition of the body, childhood memories, an attention to the materiality of food, in a spectrum of meanings that are complementary and fluid.
At the same time, a visit to SDV is designed to be carried out in a certain order, from the first to the last space. And if the visitor can randomly choose the content within the first and third zone, a specific sequence is proposed in ‘Life Itself’. In that sense, a degree of linearity remains, even if the components are discreet and fragmented. There is of course no guarantee that every user will follow the path I suggest. If someone wants to take a shortcut or do the visit backward, it is possible, and will probably make some sort of sense. The permission I give myself to stroll and wander works two ways; it also extends to my ‘model reader’ (Eco 1979).
By incorporating these structural characteristics, which can best be described as structural tensions, I try to provide an opening for the user, a space for their experience. Academic research favors—in many cases rightly so—a discourse without ambiguities, where meaning emerges by linear, incremental additions, and where interpretative gaps are ultimately closed. As a result, the researcher’s voice is conceived as authoritative, providing reliable ideas and even some truths. This model also supposes a unidirectional (and effective!) communication model where meaning is going from the writer to the reader. With SDV, I try to contest and subvert this model. I must admit, it goes against my own inclination. But it is an interesting and necessary undertaking, especially because the subjective aspects of food that I explore cannot be dealt with through the Cartesian model of thinking. My voice becomes the gentle companion on the user’s journey, my stories and reflections offer a shared intimate moment, and the whole work offers resonances of body and food experience through identification and imagination.