Ellie, Fabian and Asis, Food& Gravity
We start the new week with the team from Food&, the magazine that probes the meaning of food from uncommon angles. Their seven issues to date have married food with topics such as Bathrooms, Losers, and Nuclear War.
Their latest issue is Food& Gravity, a speculative glimpse into the year 2131. ‘As the climate crisis in the cosmos persits it erodes with it the inter-magnetic structure of our mini-verse, warping the volatile belt between Mars and Jupiter and causing asteroids to propel towards the moon - our new home. This is the year of ‘The Great Gravitational Collapse’…
What are you up to this Monday morning?
Ellie (Bottom centre): I always make porridge in the morning, but it leaves me feeling very conflicted. I like to use gluten-free porridge oats with gluten contaminated oat milk. It’s a hypocritical lifestyle choice which helps fuel me for the inevitable run to the bus stop for my 9-5 job at The London Sleep Centre. Monday mornings are tough on everyone, but especially for the sleep deprived.
Nonetheless and most importantly, I am going to buy a beautiful banana and eat it while I watch my Lemon tree (14,3 cm by today) and Oak tree (6,2cm by today) grow in Stefan’s garden (above).
Asís (Top right): Carrot Bizcocho (if there is any!) — It takes me around 45 minutes and 6-8 alarms (depending on the day) to get out of bed. I really love this ritual of mine, although it does upset some (above).
I'm currently visiting my parents and remote-working from their house in the outskirts of Madrid. After conquering the sheets I’ll go and open the shower tab while I open some shutters and blinds in the house. It takes about 10 minutes for the water to be warm enough (it’s a waste I know, but I'm terrible with cold showers in the morning...). I usually pick a piece of fruit and perhaps some chocolate or carrot bizcocho if there is any left, make some coffee and sit on the terrace with my laptop where I'll spend the first hour of work until my first weekly sync call.
How have you adapted to working from home?
Ellie: I don’t work from home. At the sleep clinic I sit behind a desk with no windows, no plants, all I can see is a closed door which at times I’ve thought of as a tormenting metaphor. Other things around me include (but are not limited to) a packet of gum, a syringe shaped highlighter, a bag of nuts, an old cup of coffee and a prescription pad.
Fabian: I have always worked from home, but when the pandemic started I rented the place at Stefan’s studio. So, I finally got away from WFH while others moved to WFH.
I have a few little artefacts lying around my desk. When they get too many I seal each of them in a capsule and stow them in an old suitcase. The view from the window is to the backyard, a third industrial, a third veggies, a third regular Berlin residential area.
Asís: Generally I would like to have a hybrid combination of a few days at home and a few in the office. I definitely miss the social aspect of work and the sporadic interactions with colleagues. Online meetings seem to leave no space for casual conversations, everything is too efficient, productive and sterile.
Having said that, I have taken the advantages of remote-working by swapping Berlin’s darkest months of Winter for Sol y Playa in Gran Canaria and coming to find real spring at my parent’s beautiful house in Madrid. It’s a joy to work from here and let the birds join in the video-calls.
Are you feeling optimistic about 2021?
Ellie: I believe in the laws of jinx, I’m saying nothing.
Asís: I have lost optimism in optimism
Which magazine do you first remember?
Ellie: Definitely Girl Talk. Every Saturday my dad would take me to the newsagents in the nearest town from our ‘in-the-sticks’ village. We’d sit in the café next to the shop and eat donuts whilst I’d read my magazine and Dad would read the newspaper.
Fabian: GEOLino. My parents made a subscription for me when I started learning to read with this child's version of the reportage magazine GEO.
Asís: LeoLeo. I first discovered it in primary school and I particularly liked that it had the name of my best friend, Leo.
Which magazine matters to you the most this morning?
Ellie: The Gourmand. This is always such an enjoyable read, their content has the loveliest balance of playfulness and smart journalism. I always go back to their feature on Lee Miller’s life after photography as a gourmet chef. The idea of her cooking ‘Pink Heaven’ for guests like Picasso and Dorothea Tanning is so romantic.
Fabian: The only subscription that I have is from a german literary magazine called Edit. I like to occasionally and randomly pick a text of this and read it.
Asís: I usually start the day with The Economist’s Espresso Morning Briefing and two or three other articles on my phone (often while my alarms are still going off).
But when it comes to inspiration, ‘Porno Tapados’ (‘Covered Porn’ in English), a publishing project from Paloma Blanco in which she intervenes porn magazines from the late eighties by painting over the images to create rather naive settings. Her project really marked me and definitely played a role in wanting to publish something more experimenta, unconventional and fun.
Describe Food& in three words.
Ellie: Lots of Fun
Asís: Unusual Encounters Food
How did the magazine originate?
The seed for the project was planted during a visit to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan, as we stood admiringly between a tank of whale sharks and a tourist family innocently eating from a pack of sushi. The irony and seeming absurdity of the situation inspired us to make Food&, which started as a fun assignment to share with friends.
We’ve watched Food& grow from a small, zine-like format into a more mature magazine. Did you expect this success?
It’s encouraging to see the project grow and particularly the extremely positive feedback we get from most of our contributors (unless we get their names misspelled!). If it wasn’t because of that we would have not been able to continue publishing Food&. We never had (nor will have) big expectations of the project, we simply enjoy spending some of our free time working with friends, friends of friends, strangers and many in-between to produce these little printed experiments.
How do you decide on the themes, and how do you find the material?
We have a very large list of possible themes. After wrapping up an issue and before sending it to the printer, each of us will selects our favourite one and if there is no unanimity after discussing we reach for our biased coin.
We started with friends & family and slowly moved on to open calls as well as reaching out to people who’s work we like. Open calls do imply a lot of time and work for us, but we have always been fascinated by the craziness and talent of random people from all over the globe. We are very grateful that they take their time to think, produce and send us something.
For the next issue we would like to try out a more research-based approach with a handful of collaborators. We might also explore the possibility of printing other publications with a more focused approach (i.e. one writer and one visual contributor under a single theme) alongside our usual annual magazine.
What’s your favourite contribution to Food& Gravity?
Ellie: The photographic series of aeroplane food by Dori Sadovnik. It’s simply food and gravity, and it makes me hungry (which is quite perverse when you think about sweaty aeroplane cheese and vacuumed pastries).
Fabian: »A Sinister Hour« by Emma E. Shooshan. Its a poem in 3 parts about the authors ancestor who died in a kitchen fire, making pilaf for their family. If it wasn't for the poem itself I admire the honesty and contrast it gives the magazine; mostly the rest of the content is on the other side of the medal.
Asís: I really like the spread of the Vending machine with the price list.
What will be your highlight of the coming week?
Ellie: I <3 Tuesday!! I’ve been having to self-isolate for five days and so Tuesday will be my new Saturday!
Fabian: The sun coming out.
Asís: I will finally meet Kiki Ljung (@kiki.ljung), the creative behind our super cool stickers at the wedding of a good friend we have in common.