Whose furniture is this?
Whose is it really, this bed and the sofa? These tables, chairs, candles, plates, the curtains and these rugs? They are all of ours and nobodies at the same time. Starting our designs with plans, planning and setting the dimensions according to specific spatial expressions of to-be-deployed furniture. But whose furniture is this in the first place?
A dinner setting, we will start the meal with a prayer and end it with a horror story. A coffee or a tea in the end? Let’s extend this dinner until morning, let’s see what it turns into. Byob along with your own chair.
We are not cooking Japanese rice noodles with French pasta, or we are not making black tea with Columbian coffee beans. Are we gathering the chairs of Ikea or floor pillows and a table? Is it a dinner for standing out, is it a vertically distributed dinner along a staircase or a stone tower? Is it in the courtyard, is it on the street, is it on a deck or in a fenced property? Whose dinner we are having and what are the ingredients of this setting? Bring your chair and tell the horror story you have. It should be the Hors d’oeuvre before we serve the meal. Let’s sit and try for how long we can stay hungry. Dinner is not a fast food . We need time to enjoy this long night. Let’s try for how long we can stay hungry.
Food is a measurement of timing, telling about the sun’s position during a day and during a season. According to the different localities of the same food, we can also derive some information about the journey of tastes over centuries. It would easily illustrate the exchange of ideas and conversations through a vast geography — where the land is connected across, there has always been a cycle of food “leaving no one in control and no way out’’1 — or a small dinner setting.
Robert Therrien’s Under the Table could easily carry you to childhood memories, it is a dare, I would say, to feel again like a child under the table hiding. It could be easily a horror element on a story told after the dinner where on the land of giants, the tables get so big that people are no longer able to reach for the food on the table. The collective memory of the direct relationship between the food and the consuetudinary dinner setting is broken by mythic wit and scaling disorder of everyday 3d objects. Horror stories in these dialogues keep the exchange of endless conversations alive by re-contextualization of everyday objects among the otherness of alienated monsters.
Food transcends the modern boundaries, nations and geographical thresholds between continents of people. The adaptation of food for each territory brings a mosaic where it is a juxtaposition of equal pieces. It is a fair game until it is a consumption game. Yet no limits to adaptations, there is a limit to what humans can eat in a given time. We can’t stay hungry enough to have myriad foods, but plans, and architectural sets, are almost always hungry for different adaptations. Architecture is not time-specific as much as food is. Space becomes the tenacious and sticky fingers of a monster; everything seen or touched turns into a frozen state. As disquieting biology of humans, we live by the familiar flavors, and we are afraid to death to lose track of the events, actions and objects. There is no freedom cultivated or refined in our selection. Not enough adventure maybe, that we need the story of the horror, rather than the horror itself. So speaking, dinners cannot turn themselves into tragic or comedic memories but a recollection of memories of others— others we rely on, not to get poisoned or abetted by the food.
Please bring your chairs mindfully.
- Keith Haring, Untitled 1984, Los Angeles, The Broad Museum, 25 September 2021 (Quoted from a text accompanying a painting by Keith Haring on the cyclic image of excessive production and distribution) ↩︎