FOOD CULTURA: A HISTORY

FOOD CULTURA is an ongoing project by Montse Guillén and Antoni Miralda. During their long artistic career, their main focus has been the study of food and its myriad artistic, social, economic and political implications across all cultures.

Miralda started Food Cultura in the late 1960s as an artistic exploration and behavior, proposing social performances with a ritualistic and anthropological content. A series of ceremonial banquets (Fete en Blanc, 1970, Four Colors Ritual, 1971, created in Paris with Dorothee Selz, Jaume Xifra and Joan Rabascall, Movable Fest, New York, 1974, Fest fur Leda, Documenta 6, Kassel, 1977, Wheat & Steak, Kansas City, 1981) celebrated the symbolism of color and food, the parameters of public spaces and an open-ended invitation to anyone to participate.

“The concept of Food Cultura was fueled and strengthened through his collaboration with Montse Guillén, which started in the early 1980s. Their actions, collections, publications, exhibitions, projects and restaurants, (El Internacional, New York, 1984; Bigfish Mayaimi, 1996, Miami) were consolidated into the project FoodCulturaMuseum developed within the Food Pavilion, Hannover, Expo 2000” [César Trasobares ]

In the words of Valentin Roma, the FoodCultura Museum was conceived as a structure in which to present the notion of Food Cultura. It is not, strictly speaking, a museum, but rather a collection of devices and strategies that question common museum protocols to give shape to an archive geared towards examining and fostering participation in culinary cultures from around the world, rather than the act of storing and building patrimony.

To understand the sources and direction of Food Cultura it is useful to follow the trajectory of the work of Miralda, Guillén and their network of collaborators, the questions they posed themselves along the years, and the projects that came into being as a result. The changes in our relation to food production and food preparation have affected deeply our lives and places in the world, and the implications are more than cultural ones:

How does the transformation of food into a product affect our original dependence from it for survival? When do the globalizing forces of food mass production and distribution affect the more traditional modes of eating and preparing food?

“By asking what is the nature of our relation with food in the contemporary era, how do artists pose questions and presents to the viewer a broad range of complex objects which engage us in a process of questioning our relation with complex economic systems” [William Jeffett]

This net of relationships has been largely explored by the Power Food project, Artium, Alava, 2008 / Es Baluard, Palma de Mallorca, 2009, presenting food and its cultural, economic and political implications: hunger, food insecurity, transgenic crops, biofuels … ultimately asking if food is a primary necessity for survival or a socioeconomic conduit for society itself?

FOOD CULTURA asks whether both food memory and the alternative modes of conceiving our relationship to food, nature and the environment can represent forms of resistance and survival thus making room for something different and unknown.

This kind of investigation is in its own intention interminable, open to any new focus of interest that may materialize. With this in mind Food Cultura was created to function as a platform to present the public with the work of artists, researchers, intellectuals, performers, and all those we feel are adding to the conversation we have been busy contributing to until now, in the hope their work will take us and the public into the next frontier.

See more in foodculturemuseum.com