food

California College of Art Spring 2009

When we eat something we are directly connected to a web of forces and relationships ranging from multibillion dollar food industries, 1000 year social histories, personal obsessions and the soil itself. Food is both a complex material and means to integrate issues of globalism, politics, ecology and fashion. This class explores how food, as a substance, a symbol and social agent, can inform creative practice and integrate into new ways of working in art, architecture and design. Starting with growing, cooking and eating our own food, the class will branch out to look at historical precedents and current connections between food culture and contemporary art and design. We will talk with artists, farmers, backyard gardeners, chefs, activists and educators. One of the themes of the class will be to consider the specificity of California itself in relationship to food, culture and economics. Students will work on a series of collective projects that explore the complex relationships between aesthetics, the palette and cultural appetite. The class shares its name with Gordon Matta-Clark’s artists-run restaurant in Soho. Started in the early 1970’s, it blended performance art, local food, and utopian ideas of community. It was part of a growing “food revolution” in the US that sprouted iconic restaurants like Chez Panise in Berkeley, CA and Moosewood in Ithica, NY.