Blind Date is a workshop that Studio Marije Vogelzang did with the masters programme of Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar around eating design in Islamic culture. Playing on the ambiguity of the term “blind date” the project explored the combination of patterns, colours, textures and tastes of dates from all over the world.
Dating is prohibited in many Islamic countries and most often marriages are arranged so it’s like a blind date. The veils worn by the women in these countries further add to the idea of a blind date. Interacting with this notion of a blind date, the first part of Vogelzang’s workshop was a date tasting. The dates (as in the fruit) were arranged on a specially designed tablecloth in a typically Arabic pattern. The workshop participants were blindfolded and had to taste the dates which all varied in taste, shape and texture.
With the participants blindfolded, their other senses were more alert but the blindfolds were also a metaphoric reference to the Arabic dress, the abaya that only shows the eyes. The blindfold visually fills the negative space of the abaya, explains Vogelzang.
After tasting each date the participants have to describe the experience, and after tasting them all they could choose their “perfect date”. Participants were then told which country their perfect date came from and were given seeds to sow and grow their own perfect dates. Characteristics of the “perfect date” were written onto Post-it notes and stuck to a collection on the wall.