From F. T. Marinetti’s Manifesto of Futurist Cookery to Gordon Matta-Clark’s conceptual restaurant to Michael Rakowitz’s Enemy Kitchen, artists have long employed food within their creative process and practice. In recent years, a host of cultural practitioners has been interrogating relationships between food and environmental, economic and social concerns, as well as notions of cooking and eating as performative acts and of dishes, recipes, and cookbooks as oft-contested markers of cultural memory.
Hospitality and conviviality are at the heart of Delfina Foundation. Founded in 1988 as the Delfina Studio Trust, which later became Delfina Foundation in 2007, the organisation has a long history in providing a “home” for artists to explore ideas, to engage in cross-cultural dialogue and to explore opportunities for artistic experimentation. Through our residency and public programme, Delfina Foundation will bring together artists, curators and critics from around the world to explore how artistic strategies have and can be used to address wide-ranging issues, in this case relating to food, agriculture, and the environment.
This programme will unfold over the course of four years at Delfina Foundation with one season each year devoted to The Politics of Food.
Season 1: Winter 2014
curated in collaboration with Michael C. Vazquez
Our first season brought together 41 artists, activists, anthropologists, chefs, curators, scientists and writers from 15 countries.
Artists, curators and writers were invited into residency for one to three months during the first season of The Politics of Food: Asuncion Molinos (Spain/Egypt); Raed Yassin (Lebanon); Michael Vasquez (USA); Candice Lin (USA); Elia Nurvista (Indonesia); James Muriuki (Kenya); Maryam Jafri (Pakistan/USA) in collaboration with Gasworks; Senam Okudzeto (Ghana/UK/USA); and Ayreen Anastas (Palestine/USA) & Rene Gabri (Iran/USA), in collaboration with The Showroom.
Additionally, short-term guests visited for one to two weeks, including: Nat Muller (The Netherlands); Bisi Silva (Nigeria); Michael Rakowitz (USA); Leone Contini (Italy); and Alessandra Saviotti (Italy).
UK Associates includes artists and researchers who are based in the UK: Mariana Meneses; Gayle Chong Kwan; Sonya Dyer; Cooking Sections; Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad; Larissa Sansour and the collective Standart Thinking.
Ayreen Anastas (Palestine/USA) & Rene Gabri (Iran/USA) looked into different struggles for reclaiming the common(s) and the convergence of those struggles to the bases of our everyday reproduction, including food. With support from Maria Sukkar and in collaboration with The Showroom.
Gayle Chong Kwan (Scotland) explored waste, consumption, and economic structures of the food chain, as well as myths and past histories of the politics of food.
Sonya Dyer (UK) used her '...And Beyond Institute for Future Research' to posit an Intersectional Feminist Space Pogramme, reimagining homemaking and food prepraration as integral components of space travel.
Cooking Sections - Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe unpicked the links between land development, agro-migration and food security through a series of events.
Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad (UK) furthered his own collaborative and cross disciplinary practice that engages with social aspects of urban life through foodways and cooking.
Maryam Jafri (Pakistan/USA) worked towards her exhibition Mouthfeel at Gasworks. Comprising a newly commissioned short film of the same name and a new photo-text work entitled Product Recall: An Index of Innovation (both 2014), Jafri's work explored the politics underpinning the industrial production of food, connecting themes as diverse as “big food”, flavour enhancement technology and overconsumption.
Candice Lin (USA) explored ideas for an interactive sculpture, linking historical sugar sculpting with animism and capitalism. With support from François Ghebaly Gallery.
Asuncion Molinos (Spain/Egypt) researched the economic structures and practices of food futures and commodities trading. With support from the Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Embassy of Spain in London.
Nat Muller (The Netherlands) brought her curatorial interests in food, aesthetics, media, politics and art in the Middle East for a series of events. With thanks to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
James Muriuki (Kenya) explored the links between colonial and multinational approaches to agriculture in Kenya.
Elia Nurvista (Indonesia) traced ‘diasporic foodscapes’ from Indonesia to the UK to explore how migrant communities’ food is adapted to fit their new local conditions. With support from Kartika Soekarno and Susanna Perini (Founder of BIASA & BISA ArtSpace- Jakarta & Bali).
Senam Okudzeto (Ghana/UK/USA) discussed her interest in memory and material culture via found objects that address, at the same time, the politics of necessity (food) and the politics of luxury (the art object).
Alessandra Saviotti (Italy) was in residence with the support of the project DE.MO./MOVIN'UP II sess. 2013 created by Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo, Direzione Generale per il paesaggio, le belle arti, l’architettura e l’arte contemporanee, Direzione Generale per lo spettacolo dal vivo, and GAI - Associazione per il Circuito dei Giovani Artisti Italiani.
Bisi Silva (Nigeria) connected the cultural, religious, political and historical relationship of food within Africa and the Americas through her curatorial practice.
Standart Thinking (UK) is a collaborative project run by Javier Rodriguez and Lise Hovesen. Over the past two years their work has been focused on providing a meeting place for the integration of practices and skill sharing between artitst, food producers and economists from their base at teh old Rotherhithe library and the Royal College of Art.
Michael C. Vazquez (USA) explored the histories of populations, encoded in the restaurants and recipes of their diasporas.
Raed Yassin (Lebanon) investigated the link between class and aesthetics in food and art, from the still life of renaissance period to the creativity and colour of Lebanese street food.