Domuslab Food
is a workshop in progress operating throughout the Architecture Biennale.
Artiglierie, Venice Biennale, 11th International Architecture Exhibition_ September/November 2008

The “food” theme has in the past decade become absolutely pivotal in western society. People talk increasingly of food not only in relation to nutrition but also as a social, cultural, ethical, environmental and political issue that has invaded innumerable fields. These reach from trade and other journals to the birth of schools and nutritional science teaching curricula, from the proliferation of culinary television programmes to the celebration of chefs as veritable gurus of modern life, from the birth of food design to the ever-growing presence of alternative foods offered on the Internet. This prominent position of the food-object in our culture produces effects and fallout that are also perceptible on the physical environment that we inhabit. The logic of food production, in every phase of its life cycle, from cultivation to disposal, transforms space, alters landscapes, creates new user styles, models fresh configurations of space and induces new perceptions of the environment.
The effects generated on the landscape by food production, consumption and disposal cycles involve spatial places and categories of varying dimensions and scale: extensive geographical areas, urban centres, places of excellence, different types of architecture, infrastructure, housing, user objects.
Food therefore embraces every scale of inhabited space and concerns all the disciplines that cover it: from design and architecture to landscape architecture and town planning.

DomusLAB Food seeks to examine the vast territory of food from a transverse angle. It intercepts subjects and places on very diverse scales and embraces the broad spectrum of cases – both exceptional and ordinary – in which food affects the lie and the look of architecture and landscape. Starting from seven different categories of space, related to production, consumer and trade processes: Where does food start? Where is food transformed? Where does food move? Where is food sold? Where is food consumed? Where is food eliminated? Where is food thought of?

DomusLAB Food is a saprophytic modus operandi. Just as a saprophytic organism feeds on the decomposition of existing materials, by “dismantling” organic substances into primary elements which then become new materials in the organic cycle, so also does DomusLAB Food not produce, but collect, metabolise and render processed substances. These in turn become material available to further interested parties.

DomusLAB Food is thus an archive in progress. It collects and displays contributions and material dealing with the subject of food: texts, reports, photographs, videos and catalogues will be available on paper to visitors and can be consulted online at Experts and “sages” will be directly brought in to join the initiatives or to email their contributions, indications and suggestions on the theme. True to the saprophytic process, these will include only existing material.

The scheduled events – meetings, artistic performances, readings, workshops, round tables and lectures – will leave their sediment and traces in the workshop’s space. Their cumulative process will change the workshop’s layout and enable subsequent visitors to watch past events virtually.

A project by Editoriale Domus
Curator: Flavio Albanese (Domus Editor)
Co-curators, exhibition and graphic design: A12 Associati
Consultant to the editor: Cecilia Bolognesi
Collaborators: Valentina Angeleri, Giuseppe Santonocito
And: Paolo Bugeia, Gemma Caroli, Giulia D'incalci, Francesco Piubelli, Elisa Selvetti