Fridays on the Lawn
Fridays on the Lawn is an on-going lunchtime intervention. I was motivated by the objective of using an already established food network within Gainesville, Florida to further the relationship of maker to object to interaction. Krishna Lunch has been providing healthy vegetarian meals to students on the University of Florida campus for 40 plus years. Their mission is to develop positive relationships with the University of Florida community through a mood of giving, open and honest communications, and respect. I designed a project around these ideals using Krishna lunch as the centerpiece around which people congregate.
I gathered a tablecloth, cloth napkins, a glass mason jar filled with wild flowers, and a stack of my handmade ceramic plates. With the permission of the Hare Krishnas, I placed the ceramics wares next to the paper plates with a simple handwritten sign on brown cardstock paper that read:
"Not in a rush? Don’t wanna eat alone? Then… Grab a ceramic plate, fill it with yummy food, and please join me on the yellow blanket for a picnic."
Gradually throughout the course of two hours, my sign attracted a mix of people, friends and strangers. The number of people and duration of stay varied from week to week.
The objective was to use an object, a ceramic plate, as a social binder to bring a group of people together for a meal with me; to become more conscious of self and others by slowing down for a meal. The initial effort to make conversation became easier and more natural as the group grew, small dialogues developing among its members. Unexpectedly, through the course of conversation, mutual friends were discovered amongst the group. By intervening with a ceramic object, connections people have to each other were made known, while facilitating an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable plates.
I asked diners to take pictures of the group. In this way, the process of documentation became more organic, less obtrusive, and socially constructed by the participants. Some took the plate with them, some chose to leave behind the dirty dishes.