Something to chew on by Mona Gandhi

In 1992, Rirkrit Tiravanija with the intention of shrinking the gap between the artist and the viewer converted 303 Gallery, New York, into a kitchen where under the rubric of Untitled (Free) he served Thai curry and rice to all visitors. Convening outside of the sharp parenthesis of Nicolas Bourriaud’s relational aesthetics, i.e. gallery created simulations of social bonds among other things, Something to chew on by Mona Gandhi will be prepared in collaboration with individuals who are interested in exploring a more sustainable way of living.

Once a month, for a period of one year—the project has thus far had seven iterations—the artist facilitates a meal comprising raw and unprocessed plant-based foods. Mona’s daily nutrition is a reflection of her aesthetic choices. Contemporary art demands that we mind the gap between artists and their practice; this gap is a key concern for Khanabadosh. Mona’s project emerges from a decidedly embodied practice and in doing so ensures that the food served is entirely irony free.

In addition to shrinking traditional typologies—artist, curator and viewer/ participant—Mona hopes with the sharper political orientation of this co-created space to tap into a variety of transformative synergies.

The project engages with a range of spaces and publics. Oftentimes riffing off the momentum already established by communities that have gathered around sites such as Fresh & Local: Flyover Farm, where the last meal was held. The rooftop farm, situated in the congested Mohammad Ali Road area of Bombay, has since its inception in 2010 successfully created a thriving atmosphere for the likeminded.

The project is an invitation to examine everyday food choices, questioning individual and collective assumptions, beliefs, and practices. Through an inquiry into nutrition, can we reinterpret our relationship with the body and the earth? As we ingest seeds of change together, can we open our minds to alternatives to consumerism?

Despite its line of questioning, neither is the undertaking predicated on any kind of moral superiority nor is it interested in being rabidly evangelical. While Something to chew on is no doubt a site for engagement with food, the terms and conditions of this engagement are generated by those partaking of the meals.

– Gitanjali Dang

Something to chew on has thus far travelled to: False Ceiling, Bandra, Bombay, March 2013; CONA, Borivali, Bombay, April 2013, Green Souls Community Farm, New Bombay, May 2013; Fresh & Local: Flyover Farm, Mohammad Ali Road, Bombay, November 2013; Green Globe, Kemp’s Corner, Bombay, December 2013; अंतरराष्ट्रीय Khirkee Festival, Delhi, March 2014; Khoj International Artists’ Association, Delhi, March 2014. 

Specs for Something to chew on: A pay-what-you-want meal, monies generated will contribute towards the purchase of ingredients. We also urge participants to please bring some raw foods they could introduce to the mix. In order to make the project accessible to a wide cross-section we hope to travel with it to different locations. To register for the meal or for additional details please write to kforkhanabadosh@gmail.com

About the artist: Exploring the interconnectedness of body and earth is central to Mona Gandhi’s practice. Her inquiry into food–natural and industrial–deepens her engagement with local and sustainable food systems. Through the world of raw, plant-based foods, she explores connections between people and the planet. She participates in community experiments across geography. Her lived experience is a synthesis of practices such as community greening, non-violent communication, body and intimacy and gift-activism – in which value is built by paying forward acts of generosity. Mona lives in Bombay and goes where her work takes her.

Captions/ Details: Clockwise from featured image
I) Documentation of third iteration at Green Souls Community Farm, New Bombay, 2013.
Credit: Karan Chopra

II) Documentation of third iteration at Green Souls Community Farm, New Bombay, 2013.
Credit: Karan Chopra

III) Documentation of fifth iteration at Green Globe, Kemp’s Corner, Bombay, 2013.
Credit: Karan Chopra
IV) Video documentation of fourth iteration at Fresh & Local, Flyover Farm, Mohammad Ali Road, Crawford Market, Bombay, 2013