70 x 7 The Meal Act III, Innsbruck, 2000
Materials: Extending table set for 14 guests, Royal Limoges porcelain plates (Ed 490), silkscreen printed table runner (Ed 32 x 2m50)
Catalogued: Food Water Life, Princeton Architectural Press, NY 2011; pp88-93 Phaidon Press, UK 2002
Exhibition history: 2000 Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
For the exhibition The Invisible Touch, curated by Maia Damianovic at the Kunstraum gallery in Innsbruck, Lucy + Jorge Orta’s imagined their third food-related project and the first rendition of 70 x 7 The Meal. This meal would set in motion a process that would unfold over the years and bring together tens-of-thousands of people from all walks of life, to take part in the ritual of dining and stimulate discussions on issues effecting our local and global communities. In the gallery, the artists installed an extending table set for fourteen guests, complete with exquisite setting of Royal Limoges porcelain plates and a silkscreen printed table-runner. The central motif of their first edition of Royal Limoges porcelain was the artichoke with a heart enveloped in endless leaves, the artists’ recurring symbol of empathy and sharing. The installation served as the focus for two dinners uniting Innsbruck stakeholders affected by local food policies. The first meal for fourteen guests, included organic farmers, politicians, journalists and cultural actors, who dined on a menu of surplus local organic produce. To perpetuate the discussions, seven of these guests invited seven more, totalling forty-nine guests, who then dined on a menu of surplus imported produce. The porcelain plates were taken home by each of the guests and during the exhibition, sets of seven plates packaged in beech-wood cases, hand-crafted by local Tyrol carpenters were sold to the visitors to encourage discussions beyond the gallery walls, embodying the playful concept of 70 x 7: seven guests invite seven, ad infinitum.