Fig 1: Iranian kitchen.
This weeks task was to select a piece of design activism and apply Duncombe and Lambert’s critique of political art. I chose the Conflict Kitchen; it is a restaurant based in the US (Pittsburgh). They serve cuisine from countries that the US has conflict with; their aim is to inform the public of the various different cultural and political issues that occur. They have served from Iran, Afghanistan, Venezuela, North Korea and Palestine; interestingly they are also the first restaurant that has presented these cuisines.
Fig 2: Menu for Iranian kitchen, latest kitchen.
I chose this because I thought it was an unconventional piece of activist art. Compared to what I usually pick; for example various graphics or protest pieces. I found the Conflict Kitchen to be a very active and unique way to inform the public and also make a strong political statement. By exposing people to a universal item such as food it allows people to connect with a culture much easier. I read various different reports on the kitchen and found a mix of opinions but the majority was positive and supportive of the idea. Looking through Duncombe and Lambert’s ‘An open letter to critics writing about political art’ I found some interesting points on what political art and art about politics is. ‘The point of political art is not to represent the world but to act within it’. The Conflict Kitchen does this well, though it is a small operation, it has a small ripple within the community it is based in. I personally like this scheme a lot. It is bold and controversial; it is putting a massive and important question on the table and into the hands of the people engaging with it.
Duncombe, Stephen and Lambert, Steve (2012). ‘An open letter to critics writing about political art’. Available at: http://artisticactivism.org/2012/10/an-open-letter-to-critics-writing-about-political-art/