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Kiki and Joost at Menu 2010

This year’s Menu (travelling culture) festival hosts a number of food-related events, including a mobile kitchen by Joost van Bleiswijk and seed nursery by Kiki van Eijk.

By Cassandra Pizzey /asdf 07-10-2010

Sometimes working as a team, Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk opted to go solo for Menu 2010, the interactive, travelling culture festival. The event is hosted over five weekends in five different towns in Limburg including Gennep, Venray, Horst aan de Maas, Peel en Maas and finally Venlo. 

The Toolkitchen

For Menu 2010, Joost van Bleiswijk presents his latest project The Toolkitchen, a mechanical installation that processes food by cutting, chopping, weighing, kneading and cooking. The idea for this culinary workshop came from the modern notion of the food industry where food is produced in factories and on industrial terrains. “I started out with the idea for a space that can adapt to the needs of the user,” says Van Bleiswijk. “Just like in a workshop, I made a number of tools to prepare food, yet also to demonstrate what the Toolkitchen is all about.” The Toolkitchen somewhat resembles a wheelbarrow made of wood; Van Bleiswijk added to the main structure as he went along, resulting in a completely hand-built kitchen. The unit features a storage area, work surfaces, chopping block and a distillery. For this part of the kitchen Van Bleiswijk used materials such as steel, trespa, hi-macs and brass.

The kitchen started out as the Toolcar, a carriage to store kitchen utensils. “Through improvisation the kitchen grew, adding such necessities as a worktop, shelving, hooks. When the final chopping board and scales were added, we had created a perfect kitchen,” states the designer. At Menu 2010 a professional chef will give a cooking demonstration in the Toolkitchen, turning food preparation into a theatrical production.

Nursery

Another project that explores food production at Menu 2010 is Kiki van Eijk’s Nursery, an ode to growing and nurturing seeds. In the little red house, Van Eijk brings together a row of cots, birth cards, pictures of family trees and atmospheric lamps to create a cosy atmosphere - rather like in a maternity ward. “It was a new challenge for me,” says Van Eijk, “combining the small-scale architecture of the house with the idea of an installation.” Van Eijk was inspired by the almost magical way a seed grows into a plant and the nurturing they need to stay alive. With this installation she shows the viewer how food is produced from start to finish.

During her research for Nursery, Van Eijk visited Nunhems, a seed supplier in Nunhem specialized in vegetable genetics. Van Eijk recalls: “Even in a high tech lab such as Nunhems, the seeds are cared for as though they were babies.” After witnessing the professionals in action, the designer opted to give each seedling its own, specially crafted bed where they receive tender loving care like a new-born baby. As the exhibition travels around, Van Eijk needed to ensure the pavilion was sturdy yet easy to assemble and disassemble so wood was the obvious choice. During the Menu tour, a nurse cares for the plants, and offers visitors home-grown herbs to taste.

Menu is on every weekend until 31 October 2010.

Photos courtesy of Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk
Click on the images to enlarge

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