Monday, April 13, 2015

SDSU Food and Art Panel Discussion and closing of A Thousand Plates

On March 26, 2015, we partnered up with San Diego State University and local artists, faculty, students and the public to begin a conversation about the state of art today and how it provokes a deeper investigation of important cultural subjects like food and seeds. This panel discussion was held in conjunction with A Thousand Plates/An art exhibition about food and culture organized by Arzu Ozkal and Eva Strubal. The exhibition press states:

“A Thousand Plates explores the topic of food as a means to question society by examining traditions across cultures and throughout the centuries. The exhibition will examine food as a fundamental need, modern food production and its relationship to the environment, the culture of eating and its relationship to memory.

Our exhibition title refers to Deleuze and Guattari’s “A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia"—a philosophical text written with a rhizomatic structure—where connections between ideas and references defy linear, structural, or casual relations. Every point can conceptually link to somewhere else. In our view, our relationship to food is similar. The production, consumption, distribution and marketing of food is connected to tradition, culture, individual and social taste as well as health care, environmental issues, and global politics that shape the contemporary society.”

The exhibition was filled with representations of not only food but also the materials and ideas that we ingest daily as forms of sustenance, folly, and disgust.

A Thousand Plates

Eating Disorder, Still from digital video, 00:01:57, 2006

Arzu Ozkal’s work titled, Eating Disorder, digital video, 01.57 minutes, 2006 was the first work encountered on a large flat screen, where from beginning to end a mouth, hands, and a freshly opened tube of lipstick are shown consuming the red of lips of the body. Only half the face can be seen cringing as the lipstick is literally eaten.

Local artist shares his collection of design artifacts from food labels, napkins, and other markations of the food industry
A Guide for Responsible Seasonal Consumption, detail
A Guide for Responsible Seasonal Consumption, detail
That evening we also met Cristal Chen who is a Graduate Alumni from SDSU in Graphic Design. She participated in the panel and discussed her conceptual and creative process for producing the project, Farmers and Me. Cristal explained that before taking this project on she worked for a major fast-food chain as a graphic designer and it sparked her interest and concern with food, eating, local farms, and healthy communities. During her thesis she realized that what she really wanted to do was use her skills as a designer to not only create visual information about relationships between farmers, food, and consumers, but also expand her process to include creative engagement through public interaction. She produced and gifted 4 different “visual recipes” called "A Guide for Responsible Seasonal Consumption" that showed how to cook with frill, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and beets. These also included pictures and quotes from local farmers and directions to the farm. Here is a link to the project Farmers and Me:

Listen, as Cristal shares her Seed Story:

Food and Art panelists (SeedBroadcasters, Jeanette Hart-Mann and Chrissie Orr far right)

Into the evening visitors checked out the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station and gathered to talk about the creative capacity of art to grow, feed, and nourish the mind and body. Like a seed.

We would like to thank Arzu Ozkal and SDSU for funding our travel to San Diego in order to participate in this panel discussion, which also enabled us to visit with many seed savers, farmers, gardeners, and mechanics en route. Mucho Gracias!

This event was also sponsored by San Diego State University School of Art + Design, SDSU Art Council, Common Experience SDSU, and Arts Alive SDSU

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