Cooking & Culling is a live ingame lecture performance dealing with economic developments related to the service sector and the economy of attention, viewed through the frame of TV cooking shows.
Five competing cooks attempt to navigate the intricacies of a physical kitchen and the clunky Cooking Simulator game, while being engaged in interviews led by a "showmaster". The resulting discussions delve into the concept of the economy of attention, drawing insights from the history of cooking shows and the contemporary service sector within the framework of capitalism.
The topics covered are diverse, spanning from early TV shows that reinforced traditional gender roles, portraying women as homemakers or service industry employees in the post-war era, to their evolution into the 2000s. This period saw cooks, akin to various other formats, transformed into contestants in the entrepreneurial arena of neoliberal capitalism. The discourse extends to present-day phenomena, such as the prominence of cooking content on platforms like TikTok and other streaming services.
Beyond their roles as chefs or showmasters, the collective takes time to reflect on the game medium itself and on how the logics of attention shape the digital world.