feasability study for sustained sustenance: installing a Feral Trade Cafe at HTTP Gallery, London UK. A platform to present feral trade goods and develop live protocols for refreshment services at HTTP, in line with the other public communications and activities of the gallery. This research emerges from an interest in the 'public diet' of cultural organisations, where foods for thought and consumption might crossover. It includes testing the regulatory limits and social expectations for an artist-run cafe, as well as preparing the resources, human and otherwise, required to run it.
1. HTTP is located in the back of beyond (an industrial estate in the residential London area of Haringey http://www.haringey.gov.uk) from the point of view of its public. A cafe would offer visitors an added incentive to visit and linger at the gallery, something to chew on alongside the art in terms of sustenance and conviviality, enriched space for contemplation, information and reading.
2. A service for local residents and studio occupants. The neighbourhood is changing - incoming small business and studios - the cafe would be an interface to that. A means of connecting with the local community that's more fluid and open, a softer and more everyday interface than the gallery.
http: The cafe will demonstrate an alternate economy and ecology that promotes free processes and experiences other than those governed by hegemonic global capitalism - so many shops deal with just money. Feral Trade is an economy based on other peoples' activities and how you get from A to B. Even at this small scale it has a polemic value.
Profit is not a necessary motive for the cafe - which opens up the operating territory considerably. Although stock should still pay for itself plus provide a heady surplus for office consumption. Seed funding will be required for start-up equipment and utensils: HTTP or external.
feral trade:Feral Trade runs at a fabulous loss, in business terms. It operates in an absence of the principle of least effort which excludes it from basic market measures of success. The investment is in the network.
The cafe would not necessarily be linked to shows. The gallery has an exhibit approximately 3/4 of the year. There are gaps between shows. In winter and gaps, the distributed library http://www.http.uk.net/docs/exhib6/summer_of_folk.shtml and Feral Trade cafe could occupy the gallery space. People would visit for the library, or for meetings. Library visitor numbers are low but it's the intensity of the experience that counts.
http: It would be a coup to overcome London geography and keep the cafe open in winter, without affecting global warming.
Patio bonfires worth looking into.
When the gallery is open, there is someone always available to respond to visitors. 3)
Hazards: The main anticipated hazard is success, with too many customers impacting staffing. Current thinking is to launch cafe with focus on existing gallery clientele, scale out to invite broader neighbourhood as the project develops.
Service: preparation, waiting, cash-taking. Service role would be rotated amongst present core personnel, this kind of distributed culture is integral to the way Furtherfield works as a group. http://www.furtherfield.org/about.php Cafe service should be continuous with natural office life, disinvesting refreshment service of any separate lowered status. householding
Management: Feral Trade would remain involved in the politics and practicalities of supply. Day to day stock management would be 1 person's responsibility, probably Ale who deals with this kind of thing anyway.
Initial investment for equipment, utensils, presentation media. At a minimum, tables, chairs, umbrellas and signage to communicate cafe presence to the nighbourhood.
The decking along the side of HTTP building is potential cafe seating area, although in terms of afternoon sun gets a total eclipse. HTTP to sound the landlord out on decking between rent payments, Landlord relations are distantly friendly. There is a janitor who keeps a close eye on the compound. If landlord rejects decking plans, the parking spaces in front are formally HTTP's, included in their rent. Cafe could serve from here with guests seating themselves informally (on the decking). Afternoon sun is another reason to occupy parking spaces.
Liability would need to be thought through or ignored.
Cafe would have its own publicity strand as a HTTP project, as well as being promoted as background for exhibitions.
HTTP is a http://furtherfield.org project. HTTP & Furtherfield are not for profits, with written constitutions. Furtherfield has an advisory board and is funded by Arts Council England. HTTP is located in a business arena zoned as mixed use (typically integrating residential, retail, commercial and social amenities) / live-work.
uk_premises_regulations Use existing regulations as a template/ jelly mould for evasion or compliance.
Produce a Regulatory reading menu as research project.
Coincide with HTTP core curatorial principles Promote Feral Trade experimental trader aims.
All menu items should be also available to buy as take-home groceries, where possible. Stock selection will involve a biodiversity of criteria, none of which should be primary or exclusionary. Considerations include:
All cafe goods will be informationalised (onboard or on menu).
Ingredients and products with questionable or complex ethics should be included on the menu, along with their product information. The main thing is to expand the product monologue beyond simple boasting and purity fetishes (eg. the truth claims, elevated origins and destinies - gourmet, organic, health - promoted by fresh and wild style packaging http://feraltrade.org/research/righteous_products); or the homogenous landscape of happy farmers that Fair Trade propagates 7) http://feraltrade.org/fair; to articulate a broader picture of the world the product moves through. tea_from_bangladesh for example.
breakdown_of_expenses: Menu also to include items and incidents in the transit of cash preformed for the goods' procurement: particularly obstacles, as the materiality of money in small quantities generally defies the idea of smooth movement of finance across global networks.
Cafe receipts can be A4 laser prints with a torrent of product information, alongside the date and price of purchase.
Read-write menu. Open to intervention from random vendors eg. customers can contribute menu items via peddling stock (sale, trade or gift).
Economy of downscale. Enables hosting small batches/single items, ultra short seasons and microclimates. Menu format should be easily updated and transmitted (database-driven) and include out of stock items - wishlisted, in negotiation or pending delivery.
Expand the notion of localness beyond the territorial boundaries of the village or nation state, to more closely replicate the worlds HTTP works in. A shared set of connections and navigable routes like the scale-free hubs of the internet.
Source producers or recipes from HTTP social networks, commission or collect artists' food projects, cultivate agrisocial relations with city farms / allotments, rural family connections, home cultivation to procure cake, jams, herbs, sprouts etc.
Courier process. Use moving social networks including known and funded travel to HTTP to deliver goods from afar, including store-bought ones, and document this process via the Feral Trade Courier database, http://feraltrade.org. Actively promote inter-organisational trade with artistic peers, local and foreign.
Regulatory limits: Define and stock emergency food products; define emergency; outer limits of biscuit; cream teas.
Challenge fresh+wild to a duel.
proposed demo for mid-september ( jeremey bailey show) possibly a harvest party / launch in oct
external: present at fo.am open sauces in brussels in november as part of public diet disucssion
Feral Trade cafe at HTTP gallery
HTTP gallery (media- and net-art) is a cultural minority in a mainly working class / cafe free residential area of NE London. The cafe will start off very small scale and is modelled as a means of extending natural office tea and coffee service to gallery visitors and locals. It is not motivated by cash profit, although goods should cover their own costs.
All goods will be served with information about source and/or delivery, including the materiality of cash transactions performed to procure them. Visitors should be able to buy coffee etc either by the cup or in bags to take home.
The feral trade courier process uses moving social networks, including known and funded cultural travel, to conduct international grocery trade by primarily social means. In documenting this process it expands the idea of food provenance beyond a gourmet-style fetishisation of origins, to the broader ecology of supply.
The cafe hopes to promote inter-organisational trade with artistic peers, local and foreign, and to expand a definition of localness beyond the territorial boundaries of the village or state.