It seems an obvious and easy task. We tap a few times or roll the egg, then we peel it with our thumb or fingers and we might even remove the membrane. Although ‘the best way to peel an egg’ is a hot topic, we don’t really think about it.
Liedewij van Eijk (1991) investigated the act of peeling an egg to learn how people peel eggs: What are the variations between people, what steps are taken during the peeling process and how do eggs behave while being peeled?
In 4 days, 360 participants were recorded while peeling a hard-boiled egg. Each participant was instructed to peel an egg like they would do at home, within the restrictions of a video frame. After the task, they were asked to fill in a questionnaire and the eggshells were documented. Van Eijk analysed all videos to collect as many process elements as she could find, together with their variations and timecodes to create a detailed insight in a hidden, subconscious world.
In addition, Van Eijk collaborated with Rob van Lier, Arno Koning, Sara Fabbri and Eline van Petersen from Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and with Eline Van Geert from KU Leuven. In their collaboration, they analysed parts of the data to find various post hoc findings, investigated the aesthetic appearance of numerous egg peeling videos, and created a website with various visualizations and interactive sorting and filtering options.
The exhibition shows a selection of the collected visual data without drawing any conclusions. Through photo- and video installations, the viewer is given the opportunity to explore a task that is so familiar, yet so unknown.