A coincidence of food, art, and coordination in Sausalito, California and Manchester, UK:
Organized by Chez Panisse chef and artist Jerome Waag and curator Joseph del Pesco, The Feral Share is an evening of gastronomic philanthropy. The cost of a meal, paid into the coffer by each dinner guest, will be transformed into funding for artists’ projects. In addition to serving as micro-funder, each dinner guest doubles as a member of the selection jury and will be asked to cast a vote for two artists from a group of twelve. The evening includes a menu drawing from wild and surplus sources, brief artist presentations, and a debate about issues ranging from food to politics. Featured debaters include Sunny Taylor and Nicolette Niman; Robert Jones moderates.
What is surplus and how do we use it? If we have more than enough (food, money, energy) doesn’t it make sense to share it in productive and creative ways? Why does it feel different to share surplus as compared to resources we have to work/pay for? What’s intellectual surplus and how does it relate to art? How is surplus (activities, materials, ideas) valued and how does it shape our culture?
From Georges Bataille’s The Accursed Share (“La Part Maudite”)
“On the whole a society always produced more than is necessary for its survival; it has surplus at its disposal. It is precisely the use it makes of this surplus that determines it: The surplus is the cause of agitation, of the structural changes and of the entire history of society.”
From Lars Bang Larsen & Kate Fowle’s essay “Lunch Hour”
“To ‘waste’ significantly, as in the pagan-influenced festival or a ritualistic slaughtering of sheep, can be seen as a metaphysical and ideological process of collective renewal and stimulation. But, while surplus remains a fact of society, its definition and use have changed. This in turn has affected the way that art production and acts of generosity are related.”
From Clay Shirky’s talk “Gin, Television, and Social Surplus”
“Because if people knew what to do with a surplus with reference to the existing social institutions, then it wouldn’t be a surplus, would it? It’s precisely when no one has any idea how to deploy something that people have to start experimenting with it, in order for the surplus to get integrated, and the course of that integration can transform society.”
Castlefield Gallery is pleased to present Kate Rich and her project Feral Trade Café to Manchester. Feral Trade is a grocery import-export business, trading food and drink sourced through a range of social networks. For 6 weeks, the Feral Trade Café at Castlefield Gallery will serve up an array of ‘ferally’ traded drinks and snacks along with delivery documentation collected by the artist.
The term ‘feral’ describes a process that is wilfully wild (as in pigeon) as opposed to romantically or nature-wild (wolf). Feral Trade concentrates on small-scale releases of migrant groceries, sourced direct from their suppliers and circulated in the excess baggage space of existing journeys, primarily using other artists, curators, friends and relations as mules. Feral Trade proposes that this underground freight network is at least as reliable as DHL.
Coinciding with Feral Trade Café, Castlefield Gallery will host Summer House, multiple staggered projects/exhibitions for artists groups based within a 100 mile radius of Manchester. The main gallery will become a quasi ‘2nd home’ / ‘urban retreat’ / public exhibition space to test collaborative or curatorial methods.
More on the artist:
Kate Rich (b. Australia) is an artist and trader. In the 1990s she moved to California to work with the Bureau of Inverse Technology (BIT), an international agency producing critical information products including economic and ecologic indices, event-triggered webcam networks, and animal operated emergency broadcast devices. The Bureau’s work has been exhibited in academic, scientific and museum contexts. Restless at the turn of the century, she headed further east to take up the post of Bar Manager at the Cube Microplex, Bristol UK where she launched Feral Trade, a public experiment trading goods over social networks since 2003. Feral Trade forges new ‘wild’ trade routes across hybrid territories of business, art and social interaction. She is currently moving deeper into the infrastructure of cultural economy, developing protocols to define and manage amenities of hospitality, catering, sports and survival in the cultural realm.