Saturday, February 18, 2012

Legacy of Claes Oldenburg as Foodie

Why we love Claes Oldenburg: how he works.
"The key to my work is that it's about my experience," said Mr. Oldenburg, 83, in an interview in Vienna last month. "If I ate BLTs, which I did, I would sooner or later want to create them."
Oldenburg uses the phrase " transformation of my surroundings" and at that scale, he certainly does. A flat and relatively tiny photographs, are already a transformation. From that place we proceede to play with the reference to reality, question it and suggesting alternatives.
[ICONS claes]
Oldenburg, Shoestring Potato Spilling from a Bag, 1966

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Industrial Landscape on T.V.

In 2007 the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation sponsored Food For Thought, a study of television food advertising to children in the United States.  "As policymakers, consumer advocates and health organizations have sought to address the increasing problem of childhood obesity in this country, one of the many potential variables they’ve focused on has been the abundance of food advertising seen by children, particularly on TV."

Four Artists - Inspiring Foodscapes

LIZ HICKOK  San Francisco in Jell-O series.

ALEX McLEOD  Well, McLeod does not use food, but inspiring none the less.

CARL WARNER Fairytale foodscapes  and otherscapes.

WILL COTTON, Paintings of cotton candy and more candy and chocolate.

Thinking About the Future and Past Food

Ingenious Stone Age Meat marketed by Bosch....we'd get their refrigerator. See the advertisement on YouTube.

Regarding the future of food, Next Nature tells the story 

"Every time we eat a piece of food, we take a bite out of the world. All these small bites tell a dozen stories. A carton of eggs presents the story of contented hens, a bottle of olive oil the tale of Italian grandmothers. Yet these pastoral scenes barely hide the realities of a food system that leaves one billion people starving and another billion overweight. Moving beyond food-based fictions, how should we react to the truth?"   They have suggested many answers to this question at their website: 
With CandyFab, high-tech confectioners can 3D print with liquid sugar.
Fresh from the Pharm
This Japanese Juice box is camouflaged from modern box designs and tries to convince consumers with its appealing ‘natural’ look. A schoolbook example of biomimicmarketing; marketing a product using images of old nature.
Banana Juice Box

The Land of Beef - We Won't Be Going There

In our Industrial Landscape research we found some idyllic locations. We discovered "the power of protein in the land of lean beef." Powerful, maybe, but to our way of thinking, a bit too beautiful and seductive.

L's distinguished colleague at UWM, Nicholas Lampert, is more irreverent when he constructs his meatscape collages out of chicken and pork, as well as cow. We find his images poignant and sweet, making us yearn for our hormone-free childhood and our road trips through the America Southwest. Some images are out of this world....

Collect Dot Give Book

November 2011
The charity-based online photography gallery collect.give announces the release of a book celebrating the project's first 50 photographers – all of whom have pledged to donate 100% of their print proceeds to charities they've selected. We were thrilled to be a part of this project and honored by the essay written about Ponder Food as Love, by MAM Curator of Photography, Lisa Hostetler

A list of all of the participating photographers:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Industry Research - Transition to Savory Grains

As we make the transition from shooting sweet cereal to the savory grains, so does Kellogg's, which just bought Pringles, the second largest savory snack product in the world. This move will boost Kellogg's snack division to 40% of total sales. According to the Wall Street Journal, Kellogg Chief Executive John Bryant said the move isn't an indication that the Battle Creek, Mich., company is worried about the future of cereal. "We love the cereal business. It's a long-term growth business," he said in an interview. "This is an add for us—it's not running away from anything."
Here's our Ingredient List:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Industry Research - History of the Sweet Grains

No sooner had we gotten our cereal desert landscape film back from the lab, than I noticed a new book by Marty Gitlin and Topher Ellis, The Great American Cereal Book, a history of the industrialization and "funification" of one of America's earliest of health foods.  
The first manufactured breakfast cereal, Granula, was invented in l863. Coincidentally, Carleton Watkins, whose work inspired our first food desert landscape (2/6/2012 post - Visiting the Food Desert with Carleton Watkins) was selling stereoviews of Yosemite, the New Almaden mining region, the Mendocino coast as well as views of San Francisco by 1863.
The "fun-factor" in the package design accelerated thanks to 60's consumerism spurred by television impressive array:

Americans love their breakfast cereal, which is second only to milk and soda in supermarket spending. Cereals and their cartoon spokescharacters are some of the most enduring pop-culture icons of the 20th century. The Great American Cereal Book is the definitive compendium of breakfast cereal history and lore, celebrating the most recognizable brands and packaging, such as Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Frosted Flakes, Grape-Nuts, and Trix. Award-winning writer Marty Gitlin and co-author Topher Ellis provide behind-the-scenes stories about the creation of these iconic kitchen-table companions, with 350 images of cereal boxes, vintage ads, and rare memorabilia. (synopsis from Abrams Books)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ongoing Nurture - The Compost Bucket Defined

We began photographing our compost buckets because they were another facet of the emotional process of nurture...This excerpt from Three Quarks Daily article defines the microbial process... 
9/5/11 Gut Feeling
We’re exposed first to our mother’s microbial flora during birth; these are the pioneering settlers of our gastro-intestinal (GI) tract.  In the following weeks our gut becomes fully colonized with a diverse array of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Although our gut microbes are generally about an order of magnitude smaller in size than human cells, when counted by the trillions, they add up. 
....diverse community of saprophytic organisms (etymologically derived from sapro = putrid, and phyte = plant) and of an accompanying host of small animals that feed directly upon the decay or that nibble on the saprophytic microbes involved in decomposition.  The outcome of all this caliginous toil is the liberation of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and elements otherwise trapped in the death’s charmless chambers.  The carbon burbles through the soil and back into the atmosphere, the nutrients spill into the soil and are scrambled over by microbes and plants all obeying life’s blind will to amplify. 
One should not be deceived by the daintiness of an intermittently protruding mushroom or toadstool.  These are merely wardrobe malfunctions in the great show of mouldering – unseemly exposed tips of a grand underground organism whose digestively capable filaments (called hyphae) can extend as a network over many miles… yes, miles.  Fungi, in fact, are celebrated among the world’s largest organisms.And this is the enigma of soil diversity therefore: so many animals live on the same diet with little specialization of feeding habits.  How can this be so? 
Animals feed upon microbes to get at get their carbon fix and in doing so take in more nitrogen that they can process.  To deal with this animals excrete that excess.  The bottom line: the piss of armies of small animals sustains this green earth.  Nitrogen gets into soils in other ways, of course, and soil critters perform other functions, but it is hard to overestimate the influence of tiny soil animals – mites and springtails (primitive wingless insect-like critters) – in orchestrating rot. 

We are all shuffling along the waiting line into the Kingdom of Decay. The workings of the upper five centimeters of the Earth’s surface may repay the considerable effort it takes to learn about it.  The payoff may be felt not only in contemplating our collective environmental future but in contemplating our personal demise.

Celebrate the Twinkie, A Survivor

Food manufacturer, Hostess filed for bankruptcy protection.  Luckily, there is an authority on the subject, Steve Ettlinger, was interviewed in a recent New York Times  article.
Steve Ettlinger

A Resource - the food workbook

When the mind is dry and crusty, this proved a juicy resource for food and light:

Dan Goldberg

Visiting the Food Desert with Carleton Watkins

Our recent pondering of food is no longer about love, but about a celebration of industrialization. We have taken our initial inspiration from the great American photographers of the 19th century USGS Surveys who roamed the mountains and the deserts in search of uncharted territory to exploit. In this century Conagra, Monsanto, Kraft,  look to the resource of our physical biology as an ever growing market.

After Carleton Watkins, Mendocino River, California

Is this work political?  As much as the documentation of Timothy O'Sullivan and Carleton Watkins.

Carleton Watkins, Mendocino River, l867

Stephanie Dean - Modern Groceries

We met Stephanie Dean at Chicago Artists' Month's Filter Photography Fest in October. We honor the elegance of her work and transformation of the chore into the sublime....
Still Life of Pork Butt, 2010

Still life of Pate and a Predator, 2009

Still Life of Caitlin's Cookie Sandwich, 2010
Modern Groceries is a series of still life photographs focusing on the way our purchased food is packaged and consumed. By setting common foods in their packaging and labeling direct from the grocery store into traditional nature mort compositions, our most common and necessary items of life – food – are jolted into historical focus. The viewers’ various degrees of knowledge of Dutch still life paintings will be the measure by which the photographs will either found or further the perceived rift between ourselves and nature, and ourselves and our food sources.
These photographs are not merely a critique of our habits; they are also a celebration and exaltation of these common objects.