70 x 7 The Meal Act IV, Dieuze, 2000

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Date: 2000
Materials: Table setting for 3000 guests, Royal Limoges porcelain plates (Two editions of Ed 750), silkscreen table runner ( Ed 500m).
Catalogued: pp88-93 Phaidon Press, UK 2002
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta

Dieuze, a small agricultural town in the north east of France was the setting for the fourth Act of 70 x 7 The Meal. Instigated by the director of the local youth association, sensing a growing fragmentation of the population, he called upon Lucy + Jorge Orta with the idea of an open-air meal. Taking on the challenge, Lucy + Jorge Orta used the 70 x 7 strategy to connect with members of the community including the service men, farmers, ex-miners, old-age pensioners, families and children. They asked every member to participate in the creation of a Manifesto for the Millennium, elements of which were later incorporated into artworks that would adorn the tables. A year later, invitations for the open-air meal were sent out to the entire population of 3,000, and as internet was non existent at that time, traditional methods of door-to-door, word of mouth, municipal posters, radio, and news paper advertisements were used. On the day, Dieuze streets were closed and an immense table, half-a-kilometre long, stretched the length of the main road from the abandoned salt mine to the Town Hall. The regional arts centre, La Synagogue de Delme commissioned the limited edition of Royal Limoges porcelain plates and a bright red hand silkscreen printed table-runner, to complete the extraordinary installation. The resounding impact of the meal was measured by the acquisition of the Royal Limoges porcelain plates, with over 750 plates sold on the day. The plate became the prized memento—the relational object—and proof of the need to reconnect and forge a collective identity despite the rising tensions.