Social Soups is a platform project for aesthetics of social activities in the urban area with a certain regard for the social implication of food.

Social Soups is a program for social transformation through art focusing on food as elementary component. The project Social Soups combines artistic and social activities regarding the cultural and social development in specific contexts of urban areas, which hosts cultural and social diversities. Social Soups intend to be an open and free participatory and disposable platform with which can be collaborate spontaneously. Therefore the project will invite artists to “prepare a social soup”; artists who focus in their researches and artistic operations on food and formulate divers social, cultural, economical and political interpretations. By using food and through multiple techniques and expressions the artists deal with important subjects related to nutrition: from food as means of survival and dependencies to food as condition of social injustice and obsessions.

Urban areas in times of global mobility have often a social tissue structured by different cultures and lives of old and new immigrants. This context comprises conflictual community issues if communication and solidarity is missing. The mixture of different cultural approaches, problems and destinies are like a soup in which diverse ingredients have to amalgamate in order to offer everyone the opportunity to be “fed”. Through food can be realized strong and multi-sensorial relations with the audience and the territory. Beyond feeding our bodies, food enriches our minds and – when becoming an instrument of artistic operations – is an agent through which the audience can make the acquaintance with cultural and traditional aspects as well as customs of other countries. Furthermore the artists create a strong relation with the audience, which become actively part of the artistic operations. Based on their knowledge and personal research, the artists reflect through their own poesis on the multitude of critical relations moreover as result of exchanges the contemporary human being has with its habitat.

Artistic operations intended as participatory instigate and foster public engagement collaborating with communities and grass root movements as well as address the project to a broader audience through networking and participation at different venues. Social Soups aims to create with the different editions models representing public engagement in order to proof and elaborate further socio political and aesthetical strategies.

In a first edition Social Soups was invited by the association PignaMonAmour of old part of the Ligurian city Sanremo to develop international visibility and to design artistic programs, consisting in residencies and events, correspondingly with the program to revamp the old city and support the relation between the different communities of immigrants.

Social Soups is commissionable by communities, cultural and social associations or institution and is designed in edition correspondently to the collaborations and the specific contexts of the area. Furthermore Social Soups is engaged to promote artists and art connected to food in different formats such as exhibitions, publications, events, exchange and international networking in order to increase possibilities of exchanging knowledge, experience, visibility and communication.

rachela abbate pentola social soups Art as possibility of social transformation

Famous artists use food to reflect on social engagement asking those questions. Artistic operations instigate transformation processes through new and unusual combinations of elements and through realization of visions. Because of that, the expansion of interactions between artist and society becomes more and more important. Social Soups tries to go a step further by creating platforms of public engagement through art by using food. Food as aesthetical concernment put a light on various aspects of ethical, psychological, cultural and political attitude. Thus exploring food issues can be a commencement of changes for the single life and for the environment in general. For this reason a “social soup” is a metaphor depicting the necessity to gain awareness that food function in social practices. The project Social Soups includes aspects of food preparation, the territory of its origin and consequently aspects of food in relation to migration, envisaging the building of new social agglomerations and new socio political possibilities especially in the urban area as the world population became urbanized. Hence the artists see a possibility of public engagement as the project aims furthermore to collaborate with communities in order make a social transformation practicable.

The above-mentioned artistic practice highlights the core meaning of culture: understanding “the other”. Social practice is intrinsically linked with cultural practice and therefore artistic operations are of vital importance especially as crisis urges single and communities to undergo massive changes in the social apparatuses. Like in the urgent situation of migration flows is moreover given a chance for regional criticism and self-regulation of communities in order to create a real social and livable environment instead of functionalize people and environment as it happen in capitalistic hegemonies. The inclusion of artistic operations in the social life opens the possibility to understand co-existence and importance of the “different” – the Other – as condition to foster solidarity and constructive modifications.