Workshop with Italian students in Venice: Day 1

26 Aug

SPINOSINI AL PROSCIUTTO E LIMONE (one student’s recipe)

The MFC secured a meeting room in the Monaco Hotel for our first day of workshopping. We met with 12 Italian architecture students and their professors from Ascoli Piceno…The meeting started by sharing food stories, which were not only a way to get us all comfortable with each other, but also gave us insight into real Italian food culture that is difficult to find.

We learned things about regional Italy cuisine and family specialties.  One student spoke to me about coming from a line of fishermen and how seafood was a core part of his diet, another about growing olives to make oil. Ascoli Piceno is a rural area,  food traditions seemed stronger than the typical American, or even an Italian living in a more modern and urban environment. The MFC group spoke about our own stories as well, the Italian students seemed equally interested. The activity resulted in a rich exchange of stories about peoples’ connections with food.

With some translation, we presented food issues in Chicago and America, which served as a launching pad to explain the Mobile Food Collective project.

After, we listened to the Italians talk about their own food issues, they also face the problem of fast food becoming popular, but simultaneously had a difficult time relating to the issue high quality food access. While not all the students agreed, most come from families that grow some portion of their own food, or at least could rely significantly on the local area to provide food.

We then broke up into two groups and began discussing our project event, which will happen this Saturday. How could we activate and design a space to create a discussion around food? What  exactly would this discussion be?  How can we make this relevant in Italy? In Venice? When the Biennale is happening?

After some enthusiastic discussion we ended the night with many ideas about Saturday and an exchange of recipes from our homes. I was excited to get some true recipes from real Italians. As I was overlooking some, I was shocked to see the students equally, if not more so, excited about our American recipes…..

Overall it was an incredibly rich experience for everyone. We have some ambition thoughts and a lot of work ahead of us for Saturday. Although, we have the challenges of limited time and materials, with everyone’s excitement about be able to work with different cultures, I am sure together we can create a great project…..

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