Foodways Darmstadt begins!

We’ve arrived in Darmstadt, Germany to begin a month of work on our new project, Foodways. We’ve already met a number of great people, including farmers and retailers and vendors at Darmstadt’s lovely main market. The piece is both really simple and sometimes hard to explain.  Here’s a brief description we’re working with now:

The group Spatula&Barcode (Laurie Beth Clark and Michael Peterson) are known for organizing creative and playful artistic events, fitted to a particular place and always involving food and hospitality. Now they draw a living social “map” to explore and celebrate how people grow, move, dispose of, transform, prepare, eat, and talk about food in Darmstadt.

Foodways Darmstadt is a part of GARTEN Utopien, the 11th “Vogelfrei” exhibition (its 20th anniversary) by the curator Ute Ritschel, and is also supported by the Internationalen Waldkunst Zentrum. For a schedule of related events and some information about us in German, visit the Vogelfrei homepage.

Here’s an image we made with some of our students that captures the spirit of the project:

A sketch-action for Foodways Darmstadt. Photo credit: Catie Rutledge.

A sketch-action for Foodways Darmstadt. Photo credit: Catie Rutledge.

If you are in or around Darmstadt and would like to be a part of the project, please email us at spatulaandbarcode@gmail.com

We’ll have more photos and information (some in German!) soon! And we’ll post more information, photos, and more all month long. A longer description follows below the fold:

Here’s a longer description from our proposals and development of the idea for Foodways Darmstadt:

What shared stories, memories, and experiences go into a specific garden, market stall, cooked dish, or family menu? The group Spatula&Barcode (Laurie Beth Clark and Michael Peterson) are known for organizing creative and playful artistic events, fitted to a particular place and always involving food and hospitality. Now they draw a living social “map” to explore and celebrate how people grow, move, transform, prepare, eat, and talk about food.

Foodways will connect people with their “foodsheds” and food workers. The project involves research in collaboration with the community, preparation with volunteers from all aspects of the world of food, and open public exploration of the “food ways” of Darmstadt’s varied food resources, from farms and forest to traditional food cultures and modern mix of communities and cuisines.

The goals can be thought of as concentric circles, beginning with a greeting exchanged between two people, expanding to a conversation, a network, a crowd, an audience, a town, a region, a world. Spatula&Barcode seeks partnerships to create a social process, physically move across the “foodscape,” and exchange food culture gifts across community spaces. In other words, the project will involve some forms of map-making, parade, and meal.

Perhaps it begins with one person buying a cheese or some vegetables walking through town; maybe a group of bicycles or wheelbarrows joins in, each carrying additional ingredients or equipment. Perhaps stops along the way for entertainment, refreshment, or discussion? This parade or hike or procession finds its way to the center a kind of community celebration, perhaps focused on an issue such as transport or waste, and connects people unlikely to meet otherwise. Participants leave with new knowledge, foodstuffs, and friendships (and maybe with some kind of hand-made food souvenirs, since such small gifts are a Spatula&Barcode trademark).

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