WHERE IS THE EDIBLE UNSOLD FOOD
GOING AT THE END OF THE DAY?
Leftovers is an open art project started during the artistic residency in Barcelona in 2016 and later reshaped in other forms during 2018 in Turin, Italy.
This project is inspired by grocery street markets and focuses on the concept of waste, the spare part of food that turns into rubbish at the end of the day.
Leftover is a thing that remains after something is finished or ended.
Leftover is the residue, the reject, the remains after a meal has been consumed or when the market is closed and its stalls are disassembled and overturned. Leftover is what is left, what carries the experience of a fragment of time.
Teatro Espace - Turin
Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2018
The operation of research started gathering of evidences, testimonies and materials inside the market, both during the opening hours and after its closing time, when the area of Piazza della Repubblica is left empty by the stalls and is full of waste and market trash: a daily cycle that sees the square transforming, consuming and discarding, as it was a living being. The artist carries on a real research on the field by interviewing many people: usual customers of the market and operators of the associations which collect food every day.
The question is: where does this food go to?
The market is vital, with its perfumes and noises it is an essential part of a community. The dining and rattling of people, the captivating smell of vegetables, the colour of thousands of spices, that in a single glance move the customers to enchanted places. Afterwards, when the market stops, everything disappears: the stalls are disassembled, the square gets empty, a lot of food left on the floor, the smells become sharp and silence comes down. On the floor, just some piles of leftovers, some food still eatable but which won’t be sold.
Once the market is over, the food that is left unsold – most of the time because of its appearance – is collected by volunteers of some associations and put at disposal of all the passers-by. The people who stop and benefit from this service are a lot, and while they observe those vegetables not perfectly mature or fresh they tell stories. Here the interviews starts, among the passers-by and the volunteers. Among them, a guy came and told that he's part of an association in charge of selecting leftovers into the pile of wasted food. Grazia is intrigued by the view of this guy who collects even the nets used to contain onions and potatoes, and interviewing him she discovers that, sewing those nets with patient expertise, he obtains sponges that can be used to wash. Starting from there, the artist makes a connection with the daily gesture of personal cleaning, which links directly to another primary need of the man: eating.
The fulcrum of this artwork links to the essential problem – not difficult to see – of food overproduction and consequently of its waste. The collection and distribution of food made by the volunteers is not enough; therefore, the unsold food is taken to landfills where it will become compost.
LEFTOVERS #002 is a site specific operation carried on at Porta Palazzo,
the biggest market in Turin.
Thanks to the volunteers of Eco dalle Città
And thanks to the artists of
Laboratorio Artistico Pietra:
Alessandro Fara for technical assistance
LEFTOVERS #002 welcomes the visitor on the entrance stairs with a sentence by Pietro Micca “…longer than a day with no bread”, a sentence that combines this artwork key concept together with its underground location – city culverts which connect places and ideas – and food. Words that initiate the spectator to the visit and to the meaning of the installation.
In the centre of the artwork path there is a wooden board recovered from Porta Palazzo market. In this wooden board we perceive the wear and the fatigue suffered by those who mount the stalls every day. The board has been obtained thank to a barter: a simple photo of the market seller is exchanged with a piece of those stalls, with a board that represents all of them, by itself. Today, this board is sustained by some piles of sponges, those made with the nets. Therefore, it is on a precarious equilibrium, exactly as the one of the market, of the food and wasted food overproduction.
At the end of the corridor, a bulky series of fruit boxes – collected in the market and organized in piles – allows the spectator to half see a video where two sounds are continuously alternating and overlapping; two sounds that are distinguishable only by getting closer and paying attention: one is the sound of the machines that collect and grind the food which afterword will become compost and the other is that of running water on hands that are washing themselves with the sponge made with the nets collected and sewed by the artist.
The artwork, by posing some obstacles to the visit, invites the visitors to open their eyes and to see the reality.
The vision here given is about not looking for solutions but underline an unstable equilibrium. The artwork is a profound reflection on the “system” that regulates a big machine, a machine that is us indeed.
Espronceda - Barcelona
LEFTOVERS is an itinerant project started in 2016 during her residency in Barcelona at Espronceda, where the city markets became the subject of research.