Food/ Media/ Crisis, Los Angeles


A special two-day workshop and critical discussion facilitated by Memefest on the intersections of Media Theory, Tactical Communication, Design and Food Politics at Pomona College, Los Angeles.

This workshop examined the corporate takeover of our food by connecting Media Theory, Tactical Communication, Design and Food Politics. Food/Media/Crisis aims to facilitate intimate, intense and imaginative conversations and critical reflections resulting in the production of texts and images that will challenge our understanding of our relationship with food. These conversations, texts and images will then be assembled and edited into a tactical publication. The topics we focused on:

1. The image of food
Food images are some of the most liked, shared, and (re)produced images on the Internet. Given this pervasiveness, can food images be used as media for socially engaged intervention? What could be the strategies to make food image culture start working in favor of a more just food system?

2. Food, Drugs, Addiction, Dependence.
The food industry produces food as drugs, advertises food as drugs and turns pleasure into control. The advertising industry uses addictive technology as a business model, while the pharma industry earns billions from deadly addiction. Are we in a new state of addictive culture? What is the relationship between food, media technology and drugs and what can we do about it?  

3. Food and Cultural Identity/Resistance/Survival
In the face of neoliberal monoculture, the preparation, eating and sharing of food is one of the most accessible and pleasurable ways of remaining connected to our cultural identities, practiceing care, and linking us to ancestral lands, customs, and values. At the same time, capitalism exoticises, markets, and fusions (sic) our foods, rendering them into just another consumer commodity. How do we reclaim our relationship to food in order to strengthen our cultural identities, or use it as a means of cultural resistance?

4 . Food and Class Conflict
Food, like fashion, is one of the key identifiers of class values, and is linked to many vectors of class conflict; the access to food (and gardens) through pricing, availability and urban planning, the role of restaurants in neighborhood gentrification, and the symbolic language and values we place upon eating (as luxury/as survival). All while mass food production methods displace and impoverish the communities that produce food sustainably globally. How can we subvert these codes, while also addressing the direct and systemic challenges for food sovereignty?

Participants choose a topic of their interest and worked in collaborative groups. The workshop was a collaboration between Memefest and Pomona College and was facilitated by Dr Mark Andrejevic, Kevin Lo, MA and Dr Oliver Vodeb.