Project Description: Niġġivik / Eating Place

From SPURSE (members participating: Petia Morozov, Iain Kerr):

What is common space? Often we think of it as Public Space. Planned environments like town squares and public parks. But, is this the best way to think of common space? Does this even make sense in Nome? We have been invited to come to Nome to explore this question with those who might also be interested in this question.

We are not interested in planning new town parks. Something far more interesting is at stake and already happening in Nome. and across the Arctic.  We would like to propose an alternative idea of Common Space as an alternative place to begin. This involves eating. To eat is to celebrate the revolutionary act of community building. When we make and share food we are connecting practices, landscapes, human communities and animal communities. This is the beginnings of a Common Space.

But why should we consider this revolutionary or even interesting? Practices of hunting, gathering, cooking and eating form an experimental bond with the world in ways that challenge today’s commodity-driven culture in vital and creative ways. The global spread of commodities is undermining both our survival and the planets. Commodities undermine the very possibility of a common space.

Subsistence living and eating is key to our future. Not simply in pragmatic terms but in larger cultural terms. The vibrant practice of subsistence living in Alaska connects community building to place in radically unique ways. An intimate connection with the land creates opportunities for people to come together around the gathering, preparation, and sharing of food. In this way, the creatures, the environment, and the people conspire to create the eating events that are essential to creating a way of life.

How can we as a community catalyze our everyday actions of eating to evolve these practices? We would like to publish a beautiful cook book. But how to do this? We would like to do this by collaborating with people and groups in Nome to make a series of three astonishing meals. This would involve a week long program of scavengings, schemings, and eating. And it would culminate into three dinner events that experiment with new forms of sharing a meal, and that speculate on future ideas about “common space.” The cook book would come out of this week: stories, experiments, meals, recipes, new ideas about commons. This book would be co-authored by all involved, published and distributed in Nome, across Alaska and nationally.

We are very excited by the possibilities of this project, we hope that you are also excited by them and are interested in working with us. Please be in contact with us directly

The program will be one part scavenging, one part stage set building, and one part meal making, energized by five series of activities during April 10-16. Click here for the daily schedule.