Feed Me a Story

Installation View. Feed Me a Story, a project by Theresa Loong and Laura Nova. Essex Street Market, NY, 2016. Photo: Laura Nova

Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is excited to present Feed Me a Story, an on-going social engagement project dedicated to documenting the gastronomic experiences of residents living in historical communities. The latest installment is a video presentation of recipes, stories and memories collected from customers and vendors located inside the Essex Street Market. Consisting of more than twenty personal stories, the documentary-style video cookbook succinctly captures the diversity of experience and change of both the market and LES community residents. Formatted inside a former market stall, Feed Me a Story situates itself as a vendor that offers the viewer a wide-range of personal histories of food, which together form an intimate and authentic articulation of the dynamic development of the LES.

Recent Press:
Hyperallergic, “A Video Cookbook Documents the Diverse Food Experiences of New York City”
Bedford + Bowery, “Recipe Peep Show at Essex Street Market Reveals Your Neighbor’s Shopping Lists
The Lo-Down, “Feed Me a Story” Debuts Video Cookbook in Essex Market

Feed Me a Story Preview:
Trailer: Feed Me a Story @ Essex Street Market 
Sobeida de la Cruz’s “Mom’s Magical Ensalada Papas
Brenda Sheir’s “Shabbas with a Little Dash
Ramón Martínez and Gaddiel Lopez’s “Singing Butternut Squash Soup

Participants Include:

Essex Street Vendors: Andrew Clark (Formaggio Essex), Alla Lemiauska (Pain D’Avignon), Andy Ferreira (Luis Meat Market), Sobeida de la Cruz (Viva Fruits & Vegetables), Rona Economou (Boubouki), Anne Saxelby (Saxelby Cheese), John Lavelle (Nordic Preserves, Fish & Wildlife Company), Dwayne Chamber (Security), Ira Stolzenberg and Ronald Budinas (Rainbo), Danielle Davidson (Davidovich Bakery), Ca Chin Eng (Essex Farm), Rhonda Kave (Roni-Sue’s), Brendan Fitzgerald (Security)

Customers: Seiko Hoshikawa, Brendan Fitzgerald, Priscilla Avery, Brenda Schreier, Madeleine Lord, Thaddeus Briner, Mary Bosque, Cara Gustafson, Michael Stember, Gaddiel Lopez.

Special thanks to Cuchifritos Gallery/Artists Alliance Inc, Lower East Side Partnership, New York City Economic Development Corporation, Essex Street Market Vendor Association and Women Make Movies. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Feed Me a Story is a collective created by Theresa Loong and Laura Nova that works on intergenerational projects focusing on the elderly and other communities that are underserved and overlooked by mainstream media. We are inspired by two of the oldest interactive experiences – eating and talking. The team has partnered with several arts and cultural institutions in New York City, launching events at the Ellis Island National Historic Site, Governors Island LMCC Swing Space, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Chinese in America, the Museum at Eldridge Street, Children’s Museum of the Arts and as SPARC artists with the LaGuardia Senior Center. Feed Me a Story received funding from the New York State Council for the Arts, the National Endowment of the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Department of Cultural Affairs. PBS/POV selected Feed Me a Story to participate in two hackathons to develop our app. We performed at LMCC’s Lent Space, the New Museum’s Ideas City Festival and the Asian American Arts Alliance’s Locating the Sacred Arts Festival. Currently, we are working on a memory collection app that facilitates the sharing of of food stories from a re-vamped airline refreshment cart equipped with an iPad and video camera. As public performance artists, we collect stories playing the role of cultural flight attendants. The aesthetics of culinary art, in its preparation and its presentation, manifests itself as we wear our uniforms and customize our cart and its offerings based on the site-specific location we are visiting. There is performance in our interaction and exchange – art through social engagement.

Theresa Loong is an interactive media artist who creates intergenerational storytelling experiences focused on memory, identity, and immigration through the use of film, games and apps. Her documentary, “Every Day Is a Holiday,” showed on public television with support from the LMCC, ITVS and CPB. She was a consulting producer for AMC Networks on digital storytelling experiences surrounding The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. Theresa led integrated media projects with the New York Times, Architecture for Humanity, and Food and Wine.  She taught interactive technologies at NYU and exhibited at the Teriennale di Milano and Círculo de Bellas Artes. She is currently developing an interactive piece with community organizations called “Bought/Broken.” Theresa works at Local Projects, an experience design studio based in New York. She is chairperson of the board of directors of The FilmShop.

Laura Nova is an interdisciplinary artist who creates sculpture, video, sound, performance and installation focused on the dynamics of human interaction using consumption, cardio, and comedy. Her interactive video installation “On the Spot” was included in the Independent Curators International exhibition Situation Comedy: Humor in Recent Art and “Limited Run” at Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT for which she received a National Performance Network Grant.  Her public artwork “Crescendo,” an automated praise-singing machine, received the Fund for Creative Communities and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund Grant. Exercising storytelling, subjective and collective memory and the body, “Moving Stories: a senior-led walking tour” is her latest project that pulls all of these elements together. Laura is an associate professor at Bloomfield College in the division of Creative Arts and Technology where she teaches expanded media and lives on the Lower East Side in New York City.

Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is a program of Artists Alliance Inc., a 501c3 not for profit organization located on the Lower East Side of New York City within the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. Cuchifritos is supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This program is made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. We thank the following for their generous support: Marie and John Zimmermann Fund, Gilbert McKay Foundation, New York City Economic Development Corporation and individual supporters of Artists Alliance Inc. Special thanks go to our team of dedicated volunteers, without whom this program would not be possible. For more information, visit artistsallianceinc.org