HortiRecycling Enterprise Act II, 1999

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Date: 1997 - 1999
Materials: Exhibition and public engagement project
Catalogued: Exhibition catalogue Weiner Secession 1999; p68 Lucy Orta Phaidon Press 2003
Exhibition history: 2005 The Curve, Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK; 1999 Weiner Secession, Vienna Austria

Spurred on by the stimulating public responses during the open-air buffet of All in One Basket (Paris 1997), HortiRecycling Enterprise explores a simple citizen initiative for recycling and distributing waste food. Commissioned by the Weiner Secession in 1999, this second act draws from the proximity of the Naschmarkt opposite the Vienesse gallery to trial a food recycling enterprise. Having concluded that great amounts of waste could be avoided if it was not discarded onto the dirty streets, the artists distributed a series of brightly coloured silkscreened bags to vendors in the market. They were filled with rejected produce and a team collected the overflowing bags, thus short-circuiting a problem of hygiene. Delivered to the two Processing Units (mobile kitchens with integrated shopping carts, a sink, hotplates and a freezer) enabled the rapid conditioning of the ripe produce where it was washed, chopped and cooked on location by the famous Viennese chef, Han Staud. Freshly prepared delicacies were offered to the general public in exchange for discussions about sustainable initiatives. Once the market closed, HortiRecycling Enterprise was transferred to the Weiner Secession gallery where further produce was prepared and bottled or frozen in dainty portions ready for re-distribution to visitors. This pilot action linked the market commerce and the gallery; art and life, building links with communities across the city to promote an awareness of waste and to drive food recycling initiatives.