A Day in the Gardens

by Mindy on August 2, 2010

Thanks to everyone who came out to the opening of Good Eater on Saturday morning.  We had perfect weather (which in this case, meant cool and cloudy, since the sun can be murderous in the gardens), and lots of great food donated by the women in the project.  Similar to our last show Welcome to Motherland, the installation only came fully alive when we saw the interactions that took place around the piece, both with the people and the environment.

Good Eater consists of a number of elements all suspended in the Eagle Heights Community Gardens arbor.  The main focus is a floating table created by the women in the group using a type of photographic printmaking called cyanotyping.  To make the prints, we placed food (from our homes and the Eagle Heights Community Gardens), transparencies of pages from parenting manuals, as well as our entire bodies on treated fabric and exposed it in the sun.  Hanging above the table is a floating serving platter and bowl with food from the garden that people can sample from and contribute to.  In the rest of the arbor are plates with cyanotypes and quotes from the women in the project about feeding and eating, and rings containing cyanotyped napkins that are stitched with questions we answered over the course of the workshops.  Viewers are encouraged to peek at the napkins and contribute their thoughts by writing on fabric and adding them to the installation.

What we didn’t anticipate was the magic of watching the wind move everything around–when the wind is strong it almost looks like a ghost is passing around the bowl of food.  Children immediately ran to play hide and seek under the tablecloth, which reminded many of us of where we often spent time during large family gatherings.

Good Eater will be up until August 20th, so if you’re in Madison I encourage everyone to experience the piece in person and add your story.  Bring your kids, have lunch (there’s a sandbox and picnic tables right outside the arbor), or just relax and enjoy the gardens.

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