Spatula&Barcode at PSi

In addition to the processional feast and the foodwalks, Spatula&Barcode participated in conference hospitality in several other ways.

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Most importantly, we lobbied for and designed the logo of the KeepCups that were used in place of disposables for coffee and tea service throughout the conference. Locally sourced and barista-approved, the cups were given all attendees.

In all there were 17 colors each for three part of the cups making for a potentially unique cup for each delegate.

This would be a good moment to recognize the work of Kat Lieder (far left) and Helen Bullard (far right), who patiently oversaw the distribution of the cups throughout the first days of the conference.

We should also to thank conference coordinators Melinda Hertzel (logistics) and Asher Warren (design), both of whom were extraordinarily patient with the extra labor that various our innovations entailed.

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Our aprons were used by the conference to differentiate the volunteers, not only during the processional feast but throughout.

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We also hosted two discussion rooms. Intended to provide an alternative to listening to papers, the discussion rooms were agenda-free, lightly moderated conversation opportunities.

As part of our hospitality services for the conference, we collated a restaurant guide that gave information about nearby coffee shops and lunch venues as well as dinners worth traveling for throughout the city. If you are looking for idiosyncratic Melbourne restaurant information, you could check out this LINK.

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Finally, we did appear at the conference as speakers to talk about the full Foodways projects on a session called Hungry for Art and Social Change that was devised and hosted by Marnie Badham and Robert Walton.

And we should also mention that Laurie Beth had the honor of chairing a terrific session by three of the five University of Wisconsin graduate students who are working on the arts-science interdisciplinary grant for which she is the co-PI.

In the photo on the right, from right to left: Ali Mikulyak, Jojin Van Winkle, Helen Bullard.

REFLECTIONS

From Hayato KOSUGE

Thank you for the very fascinating experience.  The idea and the concept and the operation were excellent!

I, non English speaker, quite often feel out of place and  some frustration on international conferences due to language barrier and cultural differences.  But on this Melbourne conference, I felt really relaxed because it was essentially based on the many performances beyond language.  Especially, I think, Foodwalk and varieties of foods on the first reception embodied the concept and has opened new possibilities to multi cultural-ness of PSi and also on the performance itself.  Moreover, Foodwalk on the final day was also great; we talked on the food with illustrations on the café.

Of course, language (English) is an important tool to make us connected; your team kindly invited us to the friendly talk on Friday morning over many rice cookies and were tolerant of our awkward English.  The language, however, should be just one of many tools of communication.  The important things are friendly atmosphere, I suppose; metaphorically, “Climate.”  From that point,  I want to say thank you again from the bottom of my heart with my Japanese colleagues and I really appreciated your project.

Judging by the mostly verbal but also some written feedback we received, we did succeed in our goal to provide a personal touch of hospitality throughout the conference. We were proud of the quirkiness of opening night and the intimate generosity of the foodwalks, of the generally convivial atmosphere and the care and investment in the discussions. MORE HERE. We are grateful to everyone who helped us to make the three projects, not only walk hosts, performers, and volunteers but also every participant who gamely stepped out of their comfort zone to engage socially. We especially want to thank Eddie Patterson who gamely supported and encouraged our interventions.

Apart from the rain on opening night, the only real sour note of the events were a couple of folks who seemingly mistook the foodwalks for commercial tourism services (when we don our signature aprons, we’re sometimes taken for caterers, and while we take that as a compliment, we also get a glimpse of how some people feel that it is appropriate to treat service workers and it’s not always pretty.) On two of the food walks, we had pairs of friends who seemed to think of themselves as clients, rather than guests. This is a lesson we keep learning in our work, that it can easily be mistaken for some of the forms it closely resembles.

Finally, we want to clarify that we do not deserve credit for the outstanding food that was served at the conference breaks and lunches. That was provided by the Asylum Seekers Resource Center, a wonderful organization that provides job training and employment opportunities for refugees.  They were formally thanked at the conference closing, but we know some folks weren’t there. Working with the ASRC was one of the first conference decisions that was shared with us, and from our perspective it was one of the best choices in a very well-organized event.

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