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The Kitchen as a Laboratory

To cook is to turn over in the mind.
To chew is to evaluate.
To digest is to make your own.

Food for thought. On a metaphorical level, food-related verbs like cooking, chewing and digesting relate as much to the cerebral acts of thinking, evaluating and appropriating as they relate to the physical processes of food preparation and eating. It seems to indicate a clear instruction on how to make things your own. As a matter of fact the combination of doing and thinking represented in food language defines rather well the philosophy of Platform21 as a center for creativity, design and fashion. Its focus is on making creative processes more transparent and available to the public while at the same time inviting some of the most inspiring and innovative designers and artists to present their best work.

As part of the GNAM festival, Platform21 = Cooking and Constructing started from the notion of the kitchen as a laboratory and production facility. Of all spaces in the home, the kitchen probably defines the essence of doing things yourself best. It is in the daily production of the family meal where creativity, culture and innovation all come together. Paradoxically, the kitchen is also growing into a symbol of the disappearance of traditional Do-It-Yourself values: Ready-meals and take-out-food increasingly replace the art and knowledge of home cooking. Projects like GNAM indicate an understanding of the cultural and creative heritage embedded in food culture but unfortunately there still exists a tendency to neglect the importance of being able to do things yourself. As an antidote to the disappearance of this important individual knowledge and to be a source of personal inspiration Cooking and Constructing was designed as a public kitchen for re-evaluating and rethinking the use of very basic edible ingredients. We invited designers, artists, architects and thinkers, as well as the general public to test and play with these ingredients and to come up with new or improved ways to use them. The results showed such unusual products as lemon-batteries, potato-plastic, graffiti made from eggs and sugar, as well as stimulating visions on the role of edibles in culture today and tomorrow.

After intense weeks of food deconstruction what remained strongest was a sense of curiosity and wonder at the limitless possibilities these simple ingredients offered. Cooking is as much about meal preparation as it is about nurturing creativity. Platform21 aimed to stimulate just that, even if in the end it didn’t have much to do with the actual preparation of a meal.

Text from GNAM catalogue. Written by: Arne Hendriks, Creative producer Platform21