Monday, 31 October 2011

15 x 9 Photographic Food Mapping

Soup Nutrition

Nutritional status of men attending a soup kitchen: a pilot study.
G T Laven and K C Brown

Nutritional status and socioeconomic characteristics of 49 men attending a soup kitchen in a residential neighborhood of Birmingham, Alabama were determined by interview, anthropometry and laboratory assays. Laboratory or anthropometric evidence of nutrient deficiency was present in 94 per cent of the subjects. Deficiency of ascorbate (63 per cent), folate (35 per cent), and thiamin (29 per cent) was higher in these men than in either patients or presumably healthy adults. Since soup kitchen meals provided insufficient vitamin C and folate, additional sources of these nutrients should be provided.
American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 75, Issue 8 875-878, Copyright © 1985 by American Public Health

Just For Sophy.. Rear Window

A few weekends ago my cousin Sophy and I sat down and watched Rear Window, a film by Alfred Hitchcock based on a photographic journalist - Jeff played by James Stewart who, wheelchair bound, spends his days staring out his wondow at his neighbours. He believes he is witness to the murder of one of his neighbours wives and continues to spy on the husband, whom he thought guilty, for additonal evidence. He eventually gets his cop friend, house keeper and girlfriend Lisa played by Grace Kelly all involved. The viewer spends most of the film anticipating 'the look' which comes just at the end when the murdering neighbour turns and you see him, see him watching! My cousin and I both literally winced at this point.

Food plays a vital role in many of Hitchcocks film, he was the son of a greengrocer, and a clear lover of food just going by his waistline! It is said he prepared many of the meals used in his foods, and a book has actually been written documenting the recipes. Quite an important scene of the film is when Lisa brings dinner for Jeff, they get into a discussion about all the events of the past evenings. She serves Lobster which is bought in a big case and by a suit clad gentleman- a superior takeaway.

'... according to a new book out in France this month, the film-maker and gourmand also enjoyed rustling up dishes to star in his movies. In The Sauce Was Nearly Perfect – a pun on the Gallic translation of Dial M for Murder, The Murder Was Nearly Perfect – authors Anne Martinetti and François Rivière have collected the recipes of 80 dishes that made guest appearances in Hitch's films, such as the Moroccan tagine of The Man Who Knew Too Much, the quiche lorraine from To Catch a Thief, a plum bread in Rebecca, a pecan pie in Marnie, Vertigo's Maryland turkey supreme and the trout cooked up in North by Northwest. According to the authors, Hitchcock, who was the son of a greengrocer, also used food as a means to drive the plot. Witness, they say, how key scenes happen around food: a policeman getting frustrated over an overcooked bird in Frenzy, the family meal in Young and Innocent, the picnic scene in To Catch a Thief or the dinner party at the house of writer Isobel Sedbusk in Suspicion.'

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Jewish Soup Kitchen

On Saturday I visited the site again to continue with the photographic mapping of the food outlets.  I took the above photograph on Saturday too. The old Jewish Soup Kitchen is positioned behind Spitalfields, unsure yet what its function is today but guessing its trendy living accommodation. Photo series to follow.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Spitalfields: A History of Food and Poverty

Spitalfields: Maps

The Cook the Thief his Wife and her Lover

The above videa is from The Cook the Thief his Wife and her Lover by Peter Greenaway, 1989.
This clip shows the angry husband taking his wife to the back of the restaurant, the use of colour throughout the film is important; the bathroom scenes white, the kitchen green, the restaurant red and outside blue.

Monday, 24 October 2011

A book

The book above by George Dodd is an interesting look at the food of London in the late 19th Century. There is also a number of mentions of Spitalfields Market, including an interesting table noting the weight in tonnes of food distributed from the main markets in London. Spitalfields fruit and vegetable market is second highest, Covent Garden Market first. 

Inspiration - The Bechers

Above is an image by Bernd and Hilla Becher. The series is composed using the same formula for every photograph; same distance from the camera, sky, scale, colour. The subjects look as though they are of the same subject initially, the lack of colour adding to the 'familiar' feeling. 

Commercial Street to Brushfield Street - photographic food map

The above collection of images depict the series of food outlets found along a journey, Commercial Street to Brushfield Street. The plan is to compile a large series of these to create a book. Street by street every; shop, restaurant, cafe and bar (if serving food), will be photographed and placed in a series. The attempt of doing this will be to provide a different perspective of a place, not just taking a collective image but a series of images with a single theme. The perspective is from the Strollers point of view- a person who strolls around the city taking in what he or she wants to as if of higher meaningful authority. 

The next perspective should be different however, from the users perspective, from the inside looking out, as a participant not an observer. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Food and the City

Food is the common link people have to a city. Rarely is a building made without consideration to food; its preparation, its consumption, its storage. The ‘food history’ of a place is easier to swallow than the actual ‘school taught history’ of a place, it is also much easier to imagine a place through ones olfactory senses. Patrick Suskind’s book Perfume creatively describes Paris using smell; although the smells imagined were mostly that of the grotesque kind.  The smell of food is one of the many essences of a city. 
Spitalfields Market and the surrounding streets are packed full of restaurants and food outlets. To map these outlets photographically would provide an overall feeling of the space. To then compare this to historic food mappings would show the critical development. Ultimately a futuristic image of the area and the food supply chain can be envisioned, by distinguishing a pattern along a timeline. 
Delicatessen, the french film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro perceives an apocalyptic time where food is so so scarce it is used as currency, and where many of the inhabitants have turned to cannibalism in order to retain their carnivorous ways. What happens to a place when most of the shops and ground floor public domain is dominated by food shops, restaurants and delis? What if food wasn’t so conveniently attainable; most of the shops would be derelict; boarded up for fear of riots. What does this mean for our cities?

Google Map, Food Search


Last night I watched Deilcatessen directed by Jeunet and Caro. The film is set in apocalyptic times - where food is seen to be so precious it is used as currency. The film is futuristic but not it the shiny suit, space ship way. In fact a lot of what you see is old fashioned, even the filming. It's quite creepy at times, the main plot of the film is set around a group of apartment residents whose landlord is a butcher. As there is a shortage of meat, the butcher serves up humans - usually the maintenance men who work there for a short while. The residents all know and willingly encourage him...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Lost Highway

Watched Lost Highway last night, then did a lot of thinking. Seemingly, the blond and red headed Patricia Arquette are actually the same person, Pete, Mystery Man and Fred are also the same person?! Right? It jumps around a bit, but the link for me was the red dress Renee wore in certain scenes. I like the way Renee at the beginning had a completely different persona to Alice- Renee was relatively cold and their relationship is very monotone. Thats because I don't really believe these encounters really happened like this. Its as though the events of the film are based around the guilt and denial Fred is going through while he is on death row. He wants to remember Renee as blonde haired Alice and himself as the young innocent Pete, so he morphs into a virtual reality in an attempt to come to terms with killing his wife. Love that the film ends where it begins and the especially the soundtrack 'I'm Deranged' by Bowie..

I really like Patricia Arquette, especially in True Romance. Think I might watch True Romance again this weekend, along with The Cook, The Thief, his Wife and her Lover. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Film 1.3 Spitalfields Multiplicity

Film 1.3 Final Cut Chronogram/Storyboard

Finished 2 minute film Storyboard

thesis topic thoughts..

The flaneur as I have researched over the past week, is a stroller around the city as such, but at the same time the articulation to the semicomatose state of which inhabitants move around the city.

"The street becomes a dwelling for the flâneur; he is as much at home among the facades of houses as a citizen is in his four walls. To him the shiny, enamelled signs of businesses are at least as good a wall ornament as an oil painting is to the bourgeois in his salon. The walls are the desk against which he presses his notebooks; news-stands are his libraries and the terraces of cafés are the balconies from which he looks down on his household after his work is done." 1938 = The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire. in Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism. NLB 1977

The Flaneur is not indicative of any one type of person, but it would be interesting to link the ideas of the Flaneur to the people inhabiting our city streets today. The Flaneur could be representative of the street dweller, the vagabond, the children/teens accommodating street corners or car parks. They might equal the connection to the city and the urban environment, lost during ones journey from A to B. People inhabit the spaces between buildings, and have done so for a long time. Yet food in cities is slowly moving back indoors. As people become less interested in where it comes from as they do how it is made. City kitchens are becoming privatised, even markets are becoming less food driven and more touristic and fashionable. What is happening to the link between food and street? and what effect is this having on the younger inhabitants occupying the streets?

Multiplicty Part Two

The busy market - a secondary perspective

Monday, 10 October 2011

Story so far..

Two characters, one Space - Spitalfields Market.

Le Flaneur: The stroller, Idler.

A modern day interpretation of the stroller, someone without purpose could potentially be anybody, not just the hat wearing gentleman pictured. The market space of spitalfields at night - an empty market stall jungle. The anonymous stroller meandering around, no sense of purpose yet still an element of the space. The stroller is representative of the market stalls themselves, anonymousa and unused, yet their presence still contributing to the fabric.

The Sunday market Vendor

Busy objective, anonymous in the sense you can't see their face, yet their purpose is clear and with meaning they go out about their duties. They form part of a different vibrant fabric. The space is utilised in a different way, a productive way- a way in which people would recognise. 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Le Flaneur

"Empathy is the nature of the intoxication to which the flâneur abandons himself in the crowd. He . . . enjoys the incomparable privilege of being himself and someone else as he sees fit. Like a roving soul in search of a body, he enters another person whenever he wishes"
Walter Benjamin - Charles Baudelaire: A lyric poet in the era of high capitalism

Monday, 3 October 2011

Wasps in a cup (collected from our office)

A link to Spitalfieds Life..
Spitalfields Life 2009-11

Reading list..

C J Lim - Smartcities and eco warriors
Carolyn Steel - Hungry City
David Burch - Supermarkets and agri-food supply chains: transformations in the production 
William McDonough - Cradle to Cradle

Loose Thesis Topics

Food politics, inner city Market trading. Getting food to the people, people to the food.
The development of public spaces, how food shapes space. Possible location - Spitalfields