CHEFS MAY ARRANGE plates artistically, but you’ll eat a work of art — literally — at Banished? Productions‘ “A Tactile Dinner,” a response to Americans’ obsession with food, celebrity chefs and food ethics. Part performance, part dinner, it’s unlike any other food experience in the city.

Producing director Carmen C. Wong composed “A Tactile Dinner” around the principles of futurism, a 20th-century art movement from Italy that emphasized speed, energy and technology. She used F.T. Marinetti’s futurist cookbook, which connects food to futurist ideals: don’t eat pasta (it causes lethargy) and don’t expect to eat everything on the table (some food is there just to look at).

“A Tactile Dinner” isn’t a traditional meal — one “course” at last summer’s performance was roast beef-scented air, another was salad set atop a music box. Big Bear Cafe’s performance offers 10 vegetarian “courses,” and Long View’s offers 15 omnivorous “courses.”

“In the time they have we us, I hope people can reconnect with all their senses and find that playful, artful spirit even as they become more aware of what better food choices they can make in life,” Wong says.

» Big Bear Cafe, 1700 1st St. NW, through Sat., $25; 800-838-3006. (Shaw-Howard University)
» Long View Gallery, 1234 9th St. NW; Sun. & Mon., $45; 800-838-3006. (Mt. Vernon Square)

Written by Express contributor Amy Cavanaugh
Photo courtesy Emile Benjamin