70 x 7 The Meal is Lucy + Jorge Orta’s ongoing participative artwork which draws from the ancestral ritual of dining together. For each rendition, or “act”, the artists imagine thought-provoking settings that have brought together thousands of people from all over the world to dine together and talk about specific issues, often related to food, sustainability, and the environment. “70 x 7” takes its meaning from the notion of infinity, whereby each meal is the starting point for conversations and exchanges that can continue beyond the meal. To facilitate this process, each meal is accompanied by commissioned artworks and objects.
For CITIES FOR PEOPLE, the artists will create the setting for “Act 40”, a dinner for up to 250 guests with a menu designed in collaboration with a Singapore chef from Open Farm Community, made of locally sourced or sustainable produce only. Each table will be assigned an “island of knowledge” and adorned with elements relating to the artists’ visual and textual language. An exchange workshop prior to the meal will bring together the agricultural, farming, and urban gardening communities, policy makers, artists, and activist groups to generate a wide range of playful, provocative, and meaningful questions that operate as triggers for the thematic discussions during the evening’s proceedings.
After the meal Lucy + Jorge Orta will transform the photographic documentation and objects collected from Singapore markets into a series of iconic sculptures, prolonging their experience of the food collaborations and discussions beyond Singapore, to generate new processes of exchange in contexts where the objects are re-presented.
Lucy + Jorge Orta (United Kingdom, Argentina/France), also known as Studio Orta, is a collaborative practice focused on social and ecological issues, employing a diversity of media to activate long-term bodies of work, structured in series: Refuge Wearand Body Architecture are portable minimum habitats bridging architecture and dress; Nexus Architecture explores alternative modes of establishing the social link; Antarctica highlights the urgent need to consider the dignity of people effected by climate change; OrtaWater examines water scarcity and the problems arising from its pollution and corporate control; HortiRecycling and 70 x 7 The Meal examines the local and global food chains and the ritual of community dining. Their work has been included in numerous biennales worldwide. Lucy Orta is also Professor and Chair of Art and Environment at the University of the Arts London, United Kingdom.
Misso Russell Keith (Singapore) is Head Chef of Open Farm Community, where he works closely with urban farmers and talented chefs to create locally sourced, seasonal, and innovative dishes. He has more than a decade of experience working in Singapore's top luxury hotels and most celebrated restaurants, including three Michelin-starred Joël Robuchon Restaurant, Pollen, and Tippling Club.
Open Farm Community (Singapore) is an initiative by Spa Esprit Group that spearheads local farming, connecting the community to nature and celebrating local spirit. Sitting on 35,000 square feet of green-land, Open Farm Community unites local farmers, creative chefs, and an innovative spirit to present an original dining concept in Singapore.
Image credit: Lucy + Jorge Orta, 70 x 7 The Meal XXXIV, Philadelphia, USA, 2013. Courtesy the artists.