Das Platforms / Contemporary Art

Dear Kelloggs: 'New Breakfast'

by Bababa International

21 Dec 2011

Bababa International Airport 1/101 Young Street Redfern, Sydney Earth 2016

Dear Kellogg’s Representative, I am writing on behalf of the Sydney-based collective, Bababa International. So as to not waste your time I will direct you to our website should you want to know more about our history and past projects: www.bababainternational.com The reason I am writing concerns the morning meal, breakfast. Last year, as part of an artist residency program at First Draft Gallery, Sydney, we began hosting breakfasts in our studio every week, once a week, on Saturday mornings. Our vision was strictly prosaic; we served porridge, pancakes and congee to people who ate with their mouths. To our surprise the event became a bustling site of activity, growing in size dramatically during a three-month period. We are currently planning to reignite this initiative as a workshop in the Bababa International Airport, but this time with an express purpose: to investigate and document a prolonged engagement with Rice Bubbles. This breakfast workshop will be built from a platform supported by two constituents:

  1. The case study: Rice Bubbles
  2. A teaching syllabus designed by the 20th century Russian artist and pedagogue, Aleksandr Rodchenko.

Our hope is that by thoroughly examining Rice Bubblesvia Rodchenko’s methods and exercises, participants will be able to concentrate and critically explore a specific food (its taste, nutrition, packaging, preparation and so on). We plan to produce a range of material documenting this workshop; drawings, discoveries, experiments with packaging and recipes will be collected along the way. It is our belief that food, being the ultimate human necessity, is also the ultimate human invention. Servicing this belief, our breakfast workshop will be an experiment in eating, thinking and making. With this in mind, we have a question for you. Would Kellogg’s be interested in supporting New Breakfast? We are curious as to whether, for example, we can bring members of the workshop to a Kellogg’s factory to see how Rice Bubbles are bubbled, and to learn about the process involved in producing the cereal. Additionally, we would greatly appreciate any other material, information or stock at your disposal. If you would like further information regarding our program or have any questions please ask and we will be sure to respond promptly. You can either write to us at the address listed above, or email: us@bababainternational.com Kind regards, Bababa International       New Breakfast – The Material Design of The Rice Bubble – a seven-week breakfast workshop hosted by Bababa International 1. Selection of Prepared Cereals. The first stage of the workshop is given to familiarize participants with the processes, phenomena and conditions vital to the success of course, including but not limited to: life itself, the industry producing rice-based cereals, the history of cereal production, the requests of the consumer, and the history of constructivism. The first task is to compile a selection of cereals for the equipping of, for example, a breakfast table – from tableware and breakfast facilitators already existing in stores. Through such selection the participant will become familiar with the items of today’s market, understand them critically, and shows the principles of his or her view on the culture of breakfast cereals. Constantly practicing, the participant will draw, photograph and consume cereals currently produced and then be encouraged to reflect upon, share and debate their findings. 2. Simplify a Cereal Already on the Market. Starting with a field trip to a store the participant chooses any rice-based cereal currently produced by industry. Then, through a critical approach to the selection, he or she will be asked to remove the applied art, superfluous forms, and non-functional elements in order to reveal its basic construction and factual appearance/taste. The participant will then propose an alternative, for example: a colour scheme and texture for a new packing design. All aspects of the product will be rigorously considered – deploying both the mind and the hands. In constant practice and discussion, the participant should carry out working towards the outcome of a physical prototype. The participant will then present these findings to the group. 3. Complicate an Already Existing Cereal. The participant is to select any rice-based cereal currently produced by industry and seek to complicate its functional qualities. There is no reasonable limit on how this might be executed. They could seek to add more convenience, usage or taste to it. Or, likewise they may seek develop a more contemporary texture, material, and active colour scheme for it. They may even decide that the product be bundled with incendiary information, or come with a toy or other complicating object. The participant can address the cereal packaging, recipe (e.g. cooking with Rice Bubbles in previously unconsidered ways), or the production and distribution process. 4. A New Design of an Existing Cereal. Having examined existing types of rice-based cereals, the participant will develop a new cereal, packaging type or recipe. Seeking to base their design on the basis of contemporary requirements – both culinary and artistic, making use of any materials that are at their disposal. Here the objective is to come to terms with the contemporary conditions of the cereal market and the corresponding analysis and interpretation will be transformed into concrete ideas. Participants will be encouraged to consider their plans holistically, integrating all aspects of the cereals production into their design. Sample concerns will include; questions of food production and farming methods; the methodology underpinning production of the cereal recipe; the technology of mass cereal production and it’s history; market based concerns such as advertising, presentation and distribution; the logistics of cereal distribution and sales. 5. A New Cereal At this stage the goal is to reveal and teach the future cereal maker how to invent and create completely new things without having samples to perfect or reject. Having set the topical task of answering today’s demand with a rice-based cereal – the participant will make a completely new breakfast cereal proposal. 6. A Set of Cereals. This stage requires the participant to create a set of cereals. At this point in the program, progress is perceived as the ability to understand cereal in context; with the participant’s furthering their previous work through it’s expansion into a positive program. This could take the form of a new line of cereals, each addressing some targeted desire of an identified breakfast eater, or the imagining of a whole new ethos for the production and consumption of breakfast (breakfast at midnight, breakfast as brunch, breakfast as a revision of the space-age fantasy of compact capsule food, breakfast as not breakfast at all), or any other number of unthought and unforseen possibilities. At this stage the intended focus is on an awareness and sensitivity to the production of context, and how this might be embodied in the imagination and work of the breakfast-engineer. 7. Equipment. The last assignment for breakfast design is an attempt to calculate the sum of everything that the participant has done, to show the entire preparatory process of the graduating breakfast-engineer. At this stage, participants will reflect on the workshop as a whole, thinking through whether Rodchenko and the Rice Bubble have an integrated future together, a future where the New Breakfast is not only possible, but also completely realisable.