┼×tefan RUSU

design / projects

OKitchen-Canteen for cultural workers

Site-specific installation by Stefan Rusu

The engine behind the Kitchen-Canteen for cultural workers presentation at “Integrations-Mediations Festival”, in 2013 is a hybrid structure representing a canteen, similar to existing in Poland Milk Bars. The Canteen will showcase the build-in kitchen furniture of a socialist flat normally used for the storage of food, cooking equipment, tableware, dishes and the daily diners at the kitchen table. The mobile unit, designed by Stefan RUSU, could easily be transformed into a temporary cultural workers’ canteen extending its area for serving food, eating, during the presentations, screenings and debates. In this way the typical multifunctional, small-scale family kitchen (inspired from the original ‘30s (USSR) design of STROICOM) is turned into canteen for multiple purposes to a large number of people by expending its hosting area.

Taking as a starting point the kitchen – a prototype with a compact size originated in the ‘30s (the period of rigid economic conditions that were imposed by the new economic standards of the society in development), but that also served as an intimate space for debates and engaged dissident discourse in the USSR of the ‘70-‘80s, that was exiled from the public sphere during that harsh political climate, the Canteen project detaches itself from this initial idea and generates a proposal that rather aims at producing a different public space and consequently a public sphere, by encouraging the publics to appropriate discursive practices. The Cantina/Canteen project would allow us to generate a public discourse by hosting artists, cultural workers and a more general public (removing the border between these two groups) and combining cooking with a debate on cultural, economic, political and social issues in the Eastern European context while consuming simply prepared food, and create a temporary community engaged through art.

To resume, the Canteen is an autonomous installation realized to introduce and present to inhabitants of Lublin the artistic initiatives and projects organized or coordinated by Oberliht Association, among them the KIOSK and other activities that explain to a certain extend the context and the transformations that public space in Chisinau and in the region is going through. As an open mobile structure the Canteen can also temporarily host local initiatives from Lublin (Tektura community), can serve as a platform for debates and presentations.

Everybody was invited to come to eat borsch, drink compote, watch films and videos, listen to National Moldovan radio, read POSTBOX magazine, learn about urban changes and the political and social transformations of the post-socialist societies while entering Cantina / Canteen, or just join us for a conversation and learn more about our projects.”
The Canteen was created in collaboration with Tektura community based in Lublin, who also helped to meet the local farmers and cook the meals.

“Kitchen-Canteen for cultural workers” was commissioned by Oberliht Association for Integrations-Mediations festival in Lublin, Poland and was curated by Vladimir Us.