Place Settings: Part I
Morris Lum, Karen Tam in collaboration with Tea Base, and Reel Asian
June 18 – August 15, 2021
Place Settings: Part II will launch Spring 2022 with projects by jes sachse, Reza Nik, Farrah Miranda and Suzanne Morrissette with Alia Weston, Lisa Myers, and Ayumi Goto
Curated by Noa Bronstein
Curatorial Assistance by Petrina Ng
Place Settings is a large-scale, durational project that considers how food functions to connect and disrupt. Focusing specifically on the intersections of food, public space, and architecture, Place Settings points to formal and informal structures that offer forms of nourishment, be they physical, emotional, social, or political.
Tending to concerns ranging from food sovereignty to community building, Place Settings brings together a series of critically and socio-politically engaged projects integrated into various public sites across Toronto. At the core of this project is the idea that the means by which food is produced, distributed, and consumed directly relates to wider issues of social injustice, unchecked corporate interests, climate change, and the overwhelming depletion of natural resources on a global scale. At the same time, the ways that individuals and communities make purposeful decisions about how to cultivate and share food reveals moments and movements of self-determination, reciprocity, and interdependence.
Place Settings addresses these wide-ranging concerns through installations and programs, engaging with systems of food distribution and consumption through their spatial forms. Each of the artists within this project reflects on how relationships to food are often informed by public or shared space. The architectures of food become sites of negotiation, and each artist’s work creates an opportunity to interrogate the infrastructures that produce and circulate what we eat.
Like food itself, this project is inseparable from the wider ecology in which it is produced. Place Settings finds itself situated within a spectrum of food-focused arts programming in Toronto and beyond; recognizing the shared questions and urgencies of these varying programs remains central to this project. Many people have helped bring food and art together and this project identifies itself as being in dialogue and conceptual collaboration with these ongoing efforts.
The multiple points of engagement realized through Place Settings are intended to speculate on the potentials of public sharing and social transformation at the centre of food-focused arts programming. Through artistic practice and critical inquiry, this project is a sustained exploration of the possibilities that might emerge when we resist the idea that food is purely transactional and instead consider the complex entanglements of space and sustenance.
In keeping with an ethos of sharing what’s on our plate, a portion of the project budget has been donated to Black Creek Community Farm.
This program is made possible through the generous support of the Toronto Arts Council, City of Toronto, and ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-22.