Mediums: social practice, ecological art, cooking
Location: Osaka, Japan / Megijima, Japan
Year: 2015 – Current
In the Kitakagaya neighborhood on the outskirts of Osaka, Japan, we open a restaurant and invite guests inside, but we don’t serve them dinner after placing their orders, instead we inform each guest to come back in six weeks … after we grow their food.
This “grown to order” restaurant is the opening scene for a multiple-month community based project where we bring to life an empty plot of urban land, building a garden based on “compassion and relationships.”
In addition to the restaurant, we host weekly “nature art” workshops, engaging the creativity of the community, connecting them with the nature in the neighborhood, and with each other. When the food is grown and ready, we invite the dinner guests back for dinner prepared by macrobiotic chef Kaori Tsuji, and the artistic outputs of the workshops are displayed in our temporary restaurant space.
The garden design and workshop series is based on years of academic study in arts and ecology in the UK and Japan, as well as multiple years working with and learning directly from the world’s leading sustainable “natural” farmers. The project has been hailed by participants as being not only entertaining, but amazingly eye-opening, bringing our relationships with the environment to new levels and expanding our view of the world immensely.
The goal here is not only about art making, or learning about plants and soil, but about giving people the opportunity to cultivate awareness and compassion for environment around them, and to use their creativity to realize a form for this awareness and compassion. From this project grows deeper and more meaningful relationships, both with the living things in a garden and with fellow human beings.
A collaborative project developed with Suhee Kang as part of our Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness initiative, the first REALtimeFOOD took place over the course of three months in Kitakagaya, a working-class suburb of Osaka, Japan. We worked in the MinnaNouen community gallery space and an empty urban lot which was used to build our ‘natural-farming’ inspired garden.
This project was supported in part by a generous grant from the Chishima Foundation for Creative Osaka. Additional support provided by Ikumasa Hayashi, Kaori Tsuji, Yasutaka Kaneda (Co.to.Hana / Minna Nouen), and Professor Suizu Isao (Aichi University of the Arts).
Further Reading and Press Coverage
Nature Farming and Art
Shikoku Shinbun (Shikoku Newspaper / Japan)
A Restaurant and Garden Serving Up Connections to Urban Nature
The Nature of Cities
Small Talk with Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang
Bar and Dining Magazine (Korean)
Workshops took place at the REALtimeFOOD urban garden, other events took place nearby at MinnaNouen.
13 JUNE – 7pm
Dinner Ordering Event
20 JUNE – 7pm
Artist Talk and Opening Party
27 JUNE – 10am
Soil Art Workshop
4 JULY – 10am
Flower Art Workshop (part 1)
11 JULY – 10am
Nature Feeling Drawing Workshop
18 JULY – 10am
Flower Art Workshop (part 2)
24 JULY –
5pm | Nature Art Exhibition
7pm | RealTimeFood Dinner
9pm | Closing Talk