Have you ever enjoyed a meal together with friends and strangers alike?
Can you imagine a square hosting a big table that neighbours share for dinner in summer nights?
Is it possible to raise awareness and fight food waste by launching a public banquet prepared out of leftovers?
In recent years numerous initiatives worldwide have arisen using food to challenge the way people engage in urban public spaces. Combining various backgrounds such as art, architecture, activism or anthropology, this interventions have been put into practice without any commercial purpose but holding multiple intentions that range from enjoyment and celebration to education or political protest.
City Cook Book is a collection of initiatives enhancing public spaces by bringing people together through food culture. It aims to explore how food can be an effective tool to both transform our common spaces into sites for encounter and social interaction, as well as to engage with larger issues that shape our everyday urban life. Through its digital platform and its print-it-yourself publication, City Cook Book intents to visualize this phenomena, reflect upon it and inspire other initiatives.
City Cook Book is a non-profit initiative developed by Claudia Sánchez and Íñigo Cornago.
Proyecto financiado por Ayudas Creación Injuve
Project funded by Ayudas Creación Injuve
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La toma aims for revitalizing the nighttime with street-life in Caracas, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, it also propose a moneyless system for exchange of goods. It’s a collaborative project between the group Incursiones (consisting of the architects Maria Valentina Gonzalez, Yanfe Pedroza, Josymar Rodriguez) and sculptor Jan Vormann.
The intervention happened first on 14th November 2015 in Calle Elice, district of Chacao, Caracas, where long tables and benches were installed on the sidewalk around a mini “calle del Hambre” (food court): a hot-dog-stand, cotton candy, popcorn and drinks. The visitors couldn’t use money but rather purchased the items by paying with the time of their presence.
La Toma apropriated this setting of the “calle del Hambre” to turn Calle Elice into a real ‘street of hunger’: Hunger for streetlife in the dangerous nighttime; hunger for exchange and companionship; hunger for discussions and laughter with friends or the new neighbors. But rather than having to work for the money to spend, so the idea of ‘La Toma’, the participants could now get off work earlier to spend their actual time here instead.
The guests were handed digital timers of different colors to monitor the due time to pay, each item had different value: A hotdog for instance cost forty minutes, a dessert twenty-five and a beverage cost fifteen minutes of their time. While waiting for the food, the participants were free to pass their time however they wished, standing and sitting around the initially blank white tables. With the provided permanent markers, the visitors slowly filled the tabletops with a collective scribble and can now be read as the guestbook of La Toma.
La Toma is an experiment returning to the public space of Caracas the vivid interaction of people the public space needs, while filling the streets with music and joy. The street was taken in blink of an eye and turned in a convivial space with discussions and laughter.
Incursiones is a social initiative and architecture studio established by architects Josymar Rodriguez, María Valentina Gonzalez and Yanfe Pedroza in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2014, Incursiones was created to provoke interactions between the city and its inhabitants, through different experiences the initiative aims to reveal new ways to approach the design of public space and how we think about our cities.
Jan Vorman is an artist from Bamberg, Germany. He graduated from Visual Arts (sculpture) from Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee in 2011. Since 2013 he also teach in the New Media/Interaction Design department of Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule BTK.