Industrial Park Live Dining 2008-2009 - click on link to go to archive
Live Dining addresses interconnections between harvesting our food, our daily acts of food preparation and dining, to the healing properties of wild plants, the importance of biodiversity, genetic diversity, in relation to human identity and human food security, to agriculture (polyculture*), and connect this to the experience and reality of the outdoor urban, suburban and rural context.
Since the Visualeyez 2007 Perfomance Festival in May http://visualeyez2007.blogspot.com/2007/05/live-dining-nicole-fournier.html ( see blog from May ), a new component, involved in the harvesting part of Live Dining, has been the FORAGING of wild plants (usually considered weeds), which was done in a Parking Lot in downtown Edmonton, as well in a private property lot, for sales, for condominium highrise development, in Edmonton.
We sit and prepare and dine on the harvests from the plants, in the dining-kitchen room installation that aims to create a sense of intimacy and security.
* Polyculture is agriculture using multiple crops in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture (which depletes soil fertility and contributes to decreasing biodiversity, which threaten global food security. It includes crop rotation, multi-cropping, inter-cropping, companion planting, beneficial weeds, and alley cropping. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyculture
MONTREAL summer 2007
This summer another "version" of Live Dining will take place in front of Artist-Run Center Articule, 262 Fairmount O. (near Park Avenue). Live Dining is supported by Articule as one of its Special Projects, www.articule.org http://www.rcaaq.org/actualites/nouvelle/1939. And there has been a desire, both on the part of Nicole Fournier and Articule to connect with Santropol in some form. Therefore Fournier's Live Dining project became a wonderful bridge that allows for this connection.
Live Dining will happen first in front of Articule, with some of the harvest going to the Santropol Kitchen for their meals-on-wheels that go to community members. Thus the Live Dining urban agricultural space. this summer of 2007, although not very big (7 feet by 11 feet), contributes to the source of urban organically grown food that supplies the Santropol Roulant kitchen.
Later on in the summer, in August, Live Dining will happen twice, once again at Articule, when corn, squash, beans and flowers are ready to eat, and also another time at Santropol Roulant's http://santropolroulant.org/2006/F-home.htm roof top garden situated on the grounds of McGill University downtown www.lesjardins.ca. on august 30th, and on September 20th during the Santropol harvest party at McGill once again.
Pre-Montreal - Live Dining in Sardinia, Italy - April 2007 and
in Edmonton’s Visualeyez 2007 - May 2007
Live Dining, April 2007, Assemini, Sardinia, Italy
in Edmonton’s Visualeyez 2007 - May
where THE LIVE DINING BLOG started
I started the Live Dining blog, wihout giving any background to how the process of LIVE DINING has evolved over the years. I was inspired to create a blog at Edmonton’s Visualeyez 2007 performance festival, because many other artist were doing so, giving that the nature of our work, was not about the traditional audience – performer relationship, having blogs about the works, gave access to another part of the process of the works and to audiences that could not be at the sites of performances in time and space. The performances were interventions in the city, being at times site-specific, as well as being performance, with the human body (bodies) acting, in action in space and time.
see Visualeyez 2007 blog for more info
BACKGROUND TO LIVE DINING 2002 & 2004
Things started to change in september 2002, when I began work outside, in rural settings. “Corn field performances” 2002, I performed different actions in a monoculture genetically modified corn field, walking through the cornfield, rolling corn silks into my own hair, cutting down a few plants and digging in the cornfield. There were two parts to my intervention/performance in sept 2002: there was a questionning performance, and a more choreagraphed performance intervention was planed, where myself and two other participants wore security vest, dust masks and surgical gloves, with references made to the pharmaceutical industry and its connection to industrial monoculture gmo agriculture. Here there is being in interrelationships with the land and organic growth, by being in the gmo monoculture cornfield, walking and being in touch and aware of the reality of why this field exists and for which corporation, etc.
Corn Dining 2004
“Corn Dining” 2004 took place in a small organic cornfield, this mark a switch from being in a problem (monoculture) to engaging in a solution (small scale organic crops, with yearly crop rotation). Corn Dining or Corn field celebration is the precursor to “Live Dining” 2005 & 2006. Live Dining (called also "backyard mayan agriculture", takes the solution further, bringing polyculture to suburban backyard, removing lawn and replacing it with polyculture (diverse plants of veggies, flowers, weeds and herbs grown together), which in 2005 was based on Mayan 3 sisters polyculture of growing corn, squash and beans, although, I added more plants species as well to the 3. In both I make an indoor dining-kitchen room installation where participants and myself perform the outdoor actions of harvesting, in the same location as the indoor domestic and intimate actions of preparing, cooking and eating, to allow for a reconnecting dining experience, with no gap between time and space, where there is community interactive participation, where there is touching of our physical organic environment, in the site of food growth, while dining, which include touch, proximity, intimacy in exchange and production. Ecological, agricultural, cultural, social-economic, health and community concerns, connected to global environmental politics & international development issues, related to biodiversity and food security, inform these works.
Fournier has called it "cornfield celebration", "eating corn in
cornfield", "corn dining","backyard Mayan agriculture", and now since it is not always corn that is planted and grown, the name has finally become "Live Dining".
LIVE DINING 2006-2005
In suburban backyard Live Dining 2006-2005, chairs sunk into the earth. Corn, squash, beans, etc were picked from their plants growing next to one’s chair. Beneficial weeds grew all around us, some providing nutrients to the cultivated plants. Steam rose up from boiling water, from amidst the diverse species of plants that grew around us. We sat together in the same place, harvesting our food and dining together in furniture grounded in the soil.
The above describes Live Dining 2005-2006 in a suburban backyard. As an adaptable concept, Live Dining is an adjective as well as a concept that is adaptable and can be applied to different contexts – urban, suburban or rural, as well as public or private, to bring attention to our relationships to agriculture, food security, and look at notions of controlled and wild nature, utility and non-utility. The project changes according to the context.
Live Dining 2006
In 2006, Live Dining was described and defined as follows:
Intervention/Performance/Installation by Nicole Fournier
Pick, Prepare, Cook and Eat in sequence, in the space where the
plants have grown.
We Plant, Pick (harvest), Prepare (peeling and cutting), Cook and Eat (dine), right in place of growing, of as many variety of plants as possible: squash, beans, herbs, tomatoes, flowers, weeds (medicinal plants), and more
“Live Dining” is an outdoor installation and performance, which can
include various kinds of indoor dining room settings, in the small polyculture* agricultural space. The dining room installation has been adapted to how and what is
growing, and the furniture, is borrowed from fellow citizens, neighbors, colleagues, friends or family.
"Live Dining" could happen in:
fields, backyards, roof top gardens, reconstructed urban space - interior and exterior such as: abandonned lots, urban green space, city urban backyards, raised agricultural space on patios, stairwells, sidewalks, inside building where there are skylights, inbetween spaces and spaces not yet identified ....
"Live Dining" 2006,
invitation for participation in a backyard, in Saint-Laurent Burroughs,
Montreal, QC, Canada
In the summer-fall of 2006, the invitation to participate in Live Dining went as follow:
“Come join me in my backyard, within a small cornfield -polyculture space to dine!"
This work includes asking questions and validation of a suburban("not
cool"), urban, backyard, as a place open to the public, to commune in
a new kind of agricultural space, to replace lawn with agriculture
"garden", to be in, to share "live dining" time with others, to
validate sharing food, and reconnect to the source of where that food
comes from. For, most food grown comes from supermarkets, which depend
on exports and industrial monoculture agriculture farms, which depend
on corporations. Is food production about needs, or is it about
catering to wants? In "Live Dining" exchange is not monetary, it is
about exchange of the gifts of giving and receiving and sharing,
openness and true transparency. Generally, trying to find out where
your food actually comes from, can involve much research on behalf of
individuals, because of the closed nature of most corporations and the
business world, which have power over the food industry. Or the chain
from the source of food to the store is just too long, and even the
store owner does not know where his distributor gets it from. Live Dining address issues such as food security, biodiversity, global warming (as urban agriculture is part of greening of cities, which is one of the solutions to help cool our planet), local food production, and more.