In conjunction with the Lucy and Jorge Orta: Food-Water-Life exhibition and the Orta’s residency, I co-directed this community banquet for 100 with the food, table décor, plates, utensils, water purification sculpture, video documentation and a radio program made by Otis faculty and their students.
During the exhibition Lucy + Jorge Orta: Food-Water-Life at the Ben Maltz Gallery, and the Orta’s week-long residency art Otis, faculty and students from twelve classes and six departments worked together on the first-ever Otis Community Banquet. Inspired by the Orta’s 70 x 7 The Meal – a series of large-scale community meals focused on issues of local and sustainable food, health, and community cooperation, the classes studied these issues, then responded by preparing the meal and to create all of the visual elements for the banquet. The meal consisted of various soups, green salad, fruit baskets, bread and infused waters all made with fresh, organic, seasonal ingredients most from the Westchester Farmer’s Market across the street from Otis. Students made everything from the hand-carved wooden chopsticks to the printed tablecloths. When guests arrived, they received napkins printed with their seat number and their neighbor’s with the instructions: “Welcome them to the banquet. Sit with them.”
By looking at other subjects the Orta’s investigate in their work including , survival, nations, language, graphic design and the built environment––the table reflected the diversity of the Otis community of artists and designers. Representing the history of many countries and the migrations of people from those countries to this small community of study, the Orta inspired Otis Community banquet reflected a fusion of personalities, reflections, disciplines and camaraderie of weeks of work for two hours.
Link to video on Otis website: