Spring 2024 Anschutz Lecture

Food Culture, Food Justice, Food Art
Apr 2, 2024, 4:30 pm6:00 pm


Event Description

Michael Peterson

Spring 2024 Anschutz Distinguished Fellow in American Studies.

Laurie Beth Clark

Professor of Non-Static Forms at the University of Wisconsin.

Michael Peterson and Laurie Beth Clark collaborate as artists under the name Spatula&Barcode, write together about art, visual culture, and food, and teach collaboratively in performance and cultural studies. This talk draws on all three of these practices to explore how artmaking, research, and pedagogy can innovate in food aesthetics and food politics and how these embodied practices can contribute to the interdiscipline of “American” studies.

Spatula&Barcode creates what is known as social practice art. Says Peterson, “this means that while our works have visual and performative components, the heart of every project is the social relations it creates.”

Since 2015, Spatula&Barcode have produced a series of art projects titled Foodways. Each project, one on every continent except Antarctica, addressed a different aspect of “how we do food”, from Mobility (Germany), to Narrative (Australia), to Systems (United States), Sustainability (Uruguay) and Migration (Ghana & South Africa)). In 2022 Clark and Peterson were in residence at De La Salle University, Manila, developing Foodways Philippines: Hunger. That project has extended to co-editing coordinated thematic issues of the journals Performance Research and Global Performance Studies on hunger with Jazmin Llana, including new scholarship by Clark and Peterson about the Philippines project.

Through making their participatory food-art projects,and writing and editing scholarship about hunger, Clark and Peterson say they have learned that human agency is the key factor in understanding food culture and food justice. “Even hunger has its foodways,” Clark asserts, “and when we look at food activism, or the impact of hunger relief actions, a central question is whether those involved have a sense, however limited, of creative freedom.”

The Anschutz lecture will locate creative actions--cooking, talking, even eating itself--at the center of food politics; Clark and Peterson will discuss how artists (including but not limited to Spatula&Barcode) use food to generate commensality, conviviality, and criticality.