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Molly Balcom Raleigh, FEED/FEED

Main Street


“Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem.” —Rollo May

“Only in fetters is liberty. Without its banks, Can a river be?” —Louis Ginsberg

The intimate rules and rituals that guide our lives are nowhere else as visible, and nowhere more often practiced, as when we eat with other people. These rules are the banks through which the rivers of our identities flow. The group of people with whom we regularly share these rules, with whom we eat our meals, is called our commensal group, and it can be made up of our families and friends, our roommates and coworkers. Over the course of our lives, our commensal groups expand and contract, can remain constant or can change radically.

The rituals we practice with our commensal groups are the deep performances of our home cultures. When we eat together, our home cultures are in conversation with each other. We’re talking to each other about where we are coming from, and sharing intimacy.

At Northern Spark 2012, you are invited to dine at a table that straddles the Mississippi River, exaggerating the distance we must close when we try to understand our companions, and making visible the deep communication we perform through eating.

Our table symbolically unites two cities: Minneapolis and St Paul. Through a real-time video stream, we’ll connect festival-goers in Minneapolis to a group of neighbors gathered in a private home on the West Side of St Paul. Life-sized video projection and sound streaming between these two sites will create a half-real, half-virtual group of dining companions at one round table. By gathering around our “commensal portal,”  FEED/FEED invites participants to think about these questions: Who is your commensal group? How do you practice your home culture? Where are you from?

Forecast Public Art believes that public art brings people together by introducing art into everyday acts (walking through the neighborhood, riding the lightrail, resting on a bench). We’re bringing this project to Northern Spark in celebration of the new issue of Public Art Review, titled “Food for Thought” and covering recent developments at the intersections of public art and food. We invite you to take a seat at the table and think about the connections we make when we eat together, when we bring art into the public sphere, and when we collapse the physical and metaphysical distances across the table and reveal ourselves to ourselves.

FEED/FEED is made possible by the following artists, organizations and partners

Project design by Molly Balcom Raleigh
Produced by Forecast Public Art in celebration of the upcoming issue of Public Art Review 
Audio/Visual consulting and installation: Brady Clark
Table design and construction by Jonathan at Gomez Whitney
Chowgirls Killer Catering
NE Farmer’s Market