Saturday, February 26, 2011

My 'Kain' dinner napkin series

(woven cotton cloth from Abra, Philippines)

"Kain" means food in Filipino, my native language. We often say "kain!" to invite a visitor, or anybody really, to join us in eating.

My contribution to Lisa and Io's project is a set of four dinner napkins. Using native woven cotton cloth from Abra, Philippines, each napkin bears a photo of a famous Philippine street food and the word "Kain!".

The napkins have been shipped, and hopefully already in Io's PO box. Can't wait to see the entire exhibition. ;)

(photos of famous Philippine street food, to be printed on the napkins)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

more napkins, my napkins...

I've enjoyed seeing what others are posting, and thus thought I'd share what I've made for the show too. My napkins are fictional records of the the social/emotional/psychological aspects of food and meals.

This one is the relationship tension dinner napkin, addressing meals and food as both context and metaphor for interpersonal relationships.

Then, there's this more psychological exploration of someone's relationship to food: the napkin that keeps all of the parts of the meal separate, because everything will be okay only if nothing touches.

All of the ingredients are in separate, sealed packets, and the text says things like "if nothing is touching, it will all be okay, I will be okay..." It's fiction, yes! I'm not really like this. I promise.

This one ended up being a bit bigger than it should've been -- sorry Lisa and Io! -- if you need to fold it when you hang it up to make it fit the 10" limit for the exhibition, go ahead.

Anyway... really fun to work on. Thanks for creating a project that allowed us to explore materials and contexts for our work that we may not have otherwise... and for providing this means of seeing what others are creating too!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Napkin is in the mail! I was thinking about being a kid in the 70’s… my parents were divorced and we used to have dinner with my Dad every Wednesday night. We’d usually head to McDonald’s, which at the time, seemed like a special treat. So, for my submission I wanted to use a disposable paper napkin, preferably with some sort of fast food logo on it. I went to the usual suspects to collect materials: McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC. None of the places I visited had napkins readily available. I approached the counter and made up an excuse about spilling something and just needing a few for cleaning up. The folks at the counter doled the napkins out sparingly. They no longer had embossed logos or anything signifying their restaurant of origin. I was somehow surprised to discover these odd facts, but figured it all boils down to economics… at least they were saving paper? And then I started thinking more about economics, fast food and obesity and feeling a little sick to my stomach. I reflected on the last time I had been at McDonald's. It was with my kids... they call it Barf Donalds. Maybe there is hope?

Monday, February 21, 2011

workin' it

Thank you, Io and Lisa, for the chance to participate in the Dinner Napkin Project. It has sent me on a research journey about the history of napkins; fascinating stuff! Back to the table I go during another bout of snow. Bon appetit! -MaryK

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Project Overview

I CyberFeast Napkins: 2010-12
Participants are mailing napkins with imagery that documents a meal or other interpretation of food from different perspectives: cultural, personal, political. Napkins were shown at the Hampden Gallery, March/April 2011 in conjunction with the Conference on International Opportunities in the Arts: The Interconnected World organized by TransCultural Exchange. Map below includes links to participants and examples of their work.

In May 2012, Cyberfeast will travel to the Park National Bank Art Gallery and be shown as part of the Kitchen Gallery Exhibit. Thank you to professor Kim Taylor for inviting the project to the gallery.

View CyberFeasts in a larger map

webcams Web cams represent the Skype artist-to-artist sessions summer/fall 2010 - also sent napkins.
mailed napkins Envelopes represent the napkin drawings mailed to us 2010/2011.
cyberfeasts Utensils represent the Cyberfeast Night
blog contributions Push pin represents blog post contributors.

webcamsII Skype Artist-to-Artist Sessions
First Skype meeting with artist, shown below Io and Lisa meet with Jonell Jaime Pulliam, August 2010. Meetings with other artists followed.

cyberfeasts III CyberFeast Night - Project Begins!
2/27/2010 5:30 PST, 6:30 MST, 7:30 CST, and 8:30 EST, series of dinner parties and conversations across time zones in the USA.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Our Call for the Show in Amherst, MA this Spring

Serve and Project ( S&P), an interdisciplinary collaborative public arts project seeks dinner napkins from creative thinkers around the world. 

Artists from around the world are invited to submit a napkin or series of napkins that creatively documents a meal. While food references sustenance it also represents social and political issues. We are seeking people to submit cloth or paper napkins that in some way represent your connection to food and culture. Napkins can be drawn on, embroidered on, folder, torn or otherwise made.

Sizes: Napkins can be any traditional or non-traditional shape as long as it fits within a 10” x 10” (25.4cm x 25.4cm) area and fit within a standard paper envelope for shipping. Pieces must be able to hang on the wall with a small pin. 

Free: We provide envelopes for return mailing. 

Deadline: Work must arrive at Io's office by February 28, 2011
attn: Prof. Io Palmer
Fine Arts - Office 5072,
PO Box 647450,
Washington State University,
Pullman WA 99164-7450,

Display of work: As part of Trans Cultural Exchange, Here There and Everywhere, International Conference taking place in April, 2011 in Boston, Mass. USA, this work will be exhibited at the Hampden Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA. Napkins are part of a larger project titled Cyber Feast. 

For further information on Serve&Project please visit: 

Created by Io Palmer and Lisa Link, Serve & Project is a public art initiative that explores the cultural, political, and economic issues surrounding the production and consumption of food.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Frozen Food

Dennis Oppenheim sculpture "Black" outside our cafeteria. Photo by my co-worker, Peter Tattlebaum. It has been snowing a lot in Boston....

Coincidentally, my other co-worker, Martha Scanlon also photographed "Black" and shared it with me - like how her phone made it like it was an underwater tea-party.