Free Lunch with the Stench Wench: towards a synaesthetics of poverty and shame in Catherine Hoffmann’s performance

Kokoli, Alexandra M. ORCID logoORCID: (2018) Free Lunch with the Stench Wench: towards a synaesthetics of poverty and shame in Catherine Hoffmann’s performance. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 33 (3) . pp. 485-499. ISSN 0887-5367 [Article] (doi:10.1111/hypa.12399)

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Catherine Hoffmann’s Free Lunch with the Stench Wench is a performance of abjection and self-abjection through poverty with an apotropaic aspiration: to shed the shame through sharing, and to create opportunities for a common social subjectivity that refuses to be silent about the struggle of its own creation and maintenance. Despite its title, Free Lunch does not come with a free lunch for the audience but creates an olfactory situation, through the on-stage cooking of hot chocolate and the presence of a dead rat, which compliments Hoffman’s narration and stage presence into a synaesthetic portrait of poverty and its psychosocial fallout. Drawing on the psychological foundations of shame studies, sociological approaches and social-theoretical responses to austerity and social division, I propose to examine the gendered embodiment of shame and its exorcism in Hoffmann’s performance, focusing on its physical codification in and beyond the visual. I explore the potential of shame to be re-weaponised against those who originally inflict it, and consider the shame that haunts every creative act, especially those with high political stakes: the failure to make a connection, the fear of being misunderstood.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Volume 33, Issue 3 (Special Issue: Gender and the Politics of Shame)
As of 2020, Hypatia is no longer published by Wiley. Current content can be found on the new publisher's website:
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts > CREATE/Feminisms cluster
Item ID: 23033
Notes on copyright: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Kokoli, A. (2018), Free Lunch with the Stench Wench: Toward a Synaesthetics of Poverty and Shame in Catherine Hoffmann's Performance. Hypatia, 33: 485-499. doi:10.1111/hypa.12399, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
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Depositing User: Alexandra Kokoli
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2017 15:17
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:42

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