Residency Unlimited

DIALOGUES - - Lanchonete

Todd Lester writes a monthly blog post on RU’s Dialogues detailing the preparation and implementation of, a 5-year residency project in Sao Paulo.

View all Lanchonete posts here.

Lanchonete | Jul 2013

Lanchonete Coverage & Ensuing Questions


Lanchonete was recently featured in BOMB Magazine's online edition.  Also, check out an unabridged version of the same interview.  Among other things, the interview gets at some common questions asked of the project ... here's the questions and response:

LV But will the artists work in the lanchonete as cooks?

TL That’s funny because normally people ask me three questions aboutLanchonete. 1) Will the artists exhibit their works in the lanchonete?; 2) Will they have to work in the lanchonete? 3) Will the customers know it’s an artistic project? And my answers are 1) No. 2) No. 3) I hope not. It must be an actual lanchonete and being an actual lanchonete, we can’t predict how the artists are going to get involved. In any group of four artists, one is going to say to me, “fuck you, Todd, I am going to work in the restaurant”. But I am not going to encourage it because I don’t want to say it is necessary. We start with NO and maybe we are going to become a YES. The power source of the project is that the artists should engage with it.

These type questions are important because they provide stimuli for the generative design and articulation of the project.  If we hear the same question enough, we know that we need to further clarify either (a) a particular point, or (b) that some things are yet unknown.  In a recent talk w/ a colleague the the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics, a couple related questions were posed ... the following was offered in response via email:

You jumped to the point that for such a (large) budget that it would be good for Lanchonete to leave behind (or stay) after the 5 year duration.  I totally, totally agree, but here's my two worries about that:
(i) while we will rent a specific location, I don't believe that the (let's just call it an even million) investment should be wholly linked to the 'site' of the lanchonete when it is the 'site' of the Centro that I think the investment has the chance of affecting/impacting.  Basically, I believe that the project must be a 'costly' project in a sense b/c the finances that I intend to 'manipulate' are in a way the medium of the artwork.  Basically, I don't want the investment's impact on the small 'site' to be how it's evaluated .. If/when it is evaluated, I want that to be on the larger 'site' of the Centro, and 
(ii) Referring specifically to the smaller 'site' of the lanchonete, I DO also want it to live forth into a useful service after the five-year span of the project, whether that be at the hands of workers who decide they want to continue it and it impacts their livelihood or whether we are able to build a partnership with a food- or innovation-related organization such as Gastro Motiva, Cities Without Hunger (Cidade sem Fome), Instituto Polis, and/or HUB Sao Paulo.  That said, I don't want to individually (or as a small/new membership body) decide this path.  I can project that Associação Espaço Cultural Lanchonete, the membership organization that will 'hold' the project will have a critical mass of members/deciders by sometime next year to start projecting the future of the lanchonete past its residency phase.  I'm now working with the designer for the website to create a visualization of this 'ownership arc' that will be plugged in on the other side of the green block on the home page across from the 'project calendar' link .. so this will be visible and clear by the time we have the Portuguese version.


Lastly, I got the chance to read from the SARAI Reader essay on Lanchonete at the June meeting of the Kristiania Literary Salon ... what a cool group of folks from around the world, living in NYC.  Through their engagement (and interest), the idea of renting an adjacent apartment (for visiting collectives) to the project's primary artists residency /apartment became clearer.

More Lanchonete Posts:Lanchonete:

2016.5 – on ATAQUE!

2016.4 – on Queer City

2016.3 – on ‘Food Audit’ @ Poly/Graphic Triennial {San Juan}

2016.2 – on the politics of water

2016.1 – on refugees and the São Paulo housing movement

2015.8 – on Embedded Residency, #III {Cultural Centers in Occupations}

2015.7 – on Embedded Residency, #II

2015.6 – on Embedded Residency, #I

2015.5 – on Nuance