On Saturday, September 24, Time/Bank will open Time/Food, a New York City branch in the form of a temporary restaurant on the Lower East Side, offering daily lunch in exchange for time credits and time currency that you can earn by helping others in the Time/Bank community.
The Time/Food restaurant, located at Abrons Arts Center at 466 Grand Street, will be open for lunch service September 24–October 16, 2011, Thursdays through Sundays, from 1–3 pm. There will be a changing menu of meals prepared with recipes provided by a group of artists who like to cook, including Martha Rosler, Carolina Caycedo, Julieta Aranda, Paul Chan, Lawrence Weiner, Ingrid Erstad, Liam Gillick, WAGE (Working Artists and the Greater Economy), Carlos Motta, Superflex, Pierre Huyghe, Alejandro Cesarco, Mariana Silva, Raqs Media Collective, AA Bronson, Anton Vidokle, Sina Najafi/Cabinet, Jason Sinopoli, and others. On Sunday, September 25, the guest chef will be Rirkrit Tiravanija.
Time/Food is a fully functional restaurant inspired by the Mexican comida corrida—informal restaurants serving home-style meals of several courses at a fixed price, between about 1 and 3 pm. The price of a meal at Time/Food is One Half Hour.
Functioning both as a visualization of a parallel economy and as its pragmatic deployment, Time/Food is one of several new branches of Time/Bank—a platform that enables groups and individuals to collectively exchange their time and skills through the use of credits earned through the bank, as an intermediary and guarantor, and without the use of money. With a growing pool of more than two thousand participants around the world, Time/Bank aims to create an immaterial currency and a parallel micro-economy for the cultural community, one that will create a sense of worth for many of the exchanges that already take place within the art field. Time/Bank was initiated by Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle in 2009.
Living as Form is an international project exploring over twenty years of cultural works that blur the forms of art and everyday life, emphasizing participation, dialogue, and community engagement. Living as Form provides a broad look at a vast array of socially engaged practices that appear with increasing regularity in fields ranging from theater to activism, and urban planning to visual art. Presented by New York City-based public art organization Creative Time, the project brings together twenty-five curators, documents over 100 artists’ projects in a large-scale survey exhibition inside the historic Essex Street Market building, features nine new commissions in the surrounding neighborhood, and provides a dynamic online archive of over 350 socially engaged projects.
Time/Food, Rirkrit Tiravanija cooking for Time/Food, Abrons Arts Center, New York, 2011. Photo by Julieta Aranda
- Rirkrit Tiravanija on "Time/Food"
Stirring the Pot
Over the past three years, the New York-based, itinerant art organization e-flux has been cultivating a large-scale micro-economy through a project called Time/Bank. Physical branches at museums in Den Haag and Frankfurt circulated an alternative currency whose notes, designed by the artist Lawrence Weiner, are printed in denominations of hours. During these exhibitions, anyone could spend time helping others to earn bills, which are redeemable for daily items, groceries, art books and other staples. Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle, the artists who founded Time/Bank, call it “a platform that enables people to get things done without using money” — indeed, to this day the bank is still functioning, globally, with more than a thousand users who deposit time into the Time/Bank Web site and withdraw it in the form of skills performed by others.
As harvest season crests, Creative Time has commissioned e-flux to create a permutation of Time/Bank that will open on Sept. 24 at the Abrons Art Center in Manhattan: Time/Food, a temporary lunchtime restaurant serving dishes contributed by a long list of very accomplished visual artists, who also like to cook. Diners need only pledge 30 minutes of their time to sit down to a meal. Some of the recipes, like Paul Chan’s fennel and orange salad, sound like simple, healthy, potluck fare; others, like the New Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective’s spicy shrimp dish “Pirates of the Bay of Bengal,” will appeal to a more daring palate. Don’t miss “Martha’s Mediterranean Spinach,” from the famously methodical kitchen of Martha Rosler. On Sunday, Sept. 25, Rirkrit Tiravanija will serve as Time/Food’s first, and particularly well-seasoned, guest chef.
Artists cook lunch for "Time/Food"
Artists! Trade a half-hour of your time for an otherwise free lunch at the temporary “Time/Food” restaurant opening in the Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side, Sept. 24-Oct. 16, 2011. The menu changes daily according to the rotating roster of chefs, who all happen to be artists “who like to cook.” A few of them are Martha Rosler, Paul Chan, Liam Gillick, Carlos Motta, AA Bronson, Mariana Silva, Ingrid Erstad and, on Sept. 25, Rirkrit Tiravanija.
Tiravanija’s kitchen accomplishments are well known, and art lovers with long memories might remember Rosler’s breakout art piece from the 1970s, when she worked at a McDonald’s and supposedly spiked the burgers with marijuana. She reported on her transgression via postcard mail art. Sponsored by Creative Time, the restaurant is inspired by Mexico’s informal comida corrida-style meals, which typically consist of several courses at a fixed price. Diners receive “hour notes” as currency, which they can take back to the Time/Bank — Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle’s larger platform for encouraging its nearly 2,000 participants to barter their time and skills, rather than exchanging money, to obtain goods and services. The website lists classified ads from users seeking anything from interior-design advice to bike repair.
Time/Food is part of the free “Living as Form” exhibition of socially aware art works and commissions taking place around the city. These include exercise classes with Shanghai-based collective Madeln Company, which is leading Physique of Consciousness, a routine of movements inspired by religious ceremonioes, at Sara D. Roosevelt Park; consultations with a “barter advisor,” for one-on-one tips on how to trade skills and objects; or many talks and walking tours on the agenda.
Weekend happenings: Take Wall Street Meets Union Square, and Marina Abramovic Lunches at a Soup Kitchen
It was an interesting weekend in New York City!
On Saturday, I was innocently having a coffee at Joe’s after some Greenmarket shopping when I was swept along by protesters who were marching up 5th Avenue from Wall Street, where they have been occupying the streets since September 17th as a statement against capitalism.
The New York Times’ Ginia Bellafante wrote what I think is an apt critique of this #takewallstreet movement. She pointed out that its decentralized organization and anonymous (literally, Anonymous) sponsorship makes it seem like an incoherent and poorly aimed reaction to the obvious fact that capitalism as we know it is causing more ills than good.
“The group’s lack of cohesion and its apparent wish to pantomime progressivism rather than practice it knowledgeably is unsettling in the face of the challenges so many of its generation face – finding work, repaying student loans, figuring out ways to finish college when money has run out.”
And the best part is the end of the article, when a NYSE trader walks by the protest in Zuccotti Park and scoffs: “Look at these kids, sitting here with their Apple computers. Apple, one of the biggest monopolies in the world. It trades at $400 a share. Do they even know that?”
I will say, however, that the energy I felt when the marchers (maybe two to three hundred of them) paraded by me, stopping traffic, with a train of NYPD following them on all sides, filled the streets with a spark of something difficult to describe. Maybe it reminded us that complacency is perhaps just as subject to critique as a disorganized and poorly articulated protest stunt.
On Sunday, I found myself having lunch with Marina Abramovic.
Okay, so we weren’t exactly lunching together. She showed up at the massively popular opening weekend of Time/Food, part of Creative Time’s Living As Form art show that will last until October 16th and is based at the Abrons Art Center and the Essex Street Market.
(from farms and community gardens in NYC) lunches from 1-3pm Thursdays through Sundays. We had a delicious three-course meal: a starter salad of arugula and rice noodles with dried shrimp, followed by juicy chicken and rice tacos, and a bowl of pho with bits of seafood. Our chef was the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija.
And the best part: the lunch was totally free! In exchange for dining, all visitors have to do is pledge a half-hour of their time, in any way they choose. My contribution is that I’m writing about the event on my blog! Hey, I’m happy to exchange writing for amazing, fresh food in good company.
Julie Brown, a cheery graduate student in museum studies at NYU who is working on the Time/Food project, told me that the goal of Living As Form is to find different ways to live, and to see living as an art.
I can’t help but think that there is some connection between this interest in alternate forms of exchange and the economic recession. I have more thoughts about this but they’re coming out in an article I’ve just finished, soon, so I’ll leave it there for now.
Down the street at the historic Essex Market, Creative Time put on a display of socially-engaged art experiments that is meant to capture the movement by 21st-century artists to find ways to bridge the gap between art and social experience. It was a lot to take in so I’ll have to go back for another look soon.
Also last Wednesday I attended the Brooklyn Bounty fundraiser for the Brooklyn Historical Society, where awards were presented to leaders of the sustainable and local food movement in Brooklyn. Look for a piece on that soon in the Brooklyn Rail.
Verdict: September in NYC is fantastic.