Week 3: “Potatograms” – Artist Call for Telegrams

As a continuation of the ongoing project “AT THE TABLE, IS WHERE WE MEET”, week 3 explores the different ways in which food has been used to communicate. As a sterile example of a very capitalist, American tradition, “candygrams” are boxes of candy and chocolate sent to a recipient with a telegram or message attached. It was a way to say “I love you, I miss you, I’m thinking of you”. How sweet, literally.

Due to postal suspensions and increase in shipping times as a result of COVID-19, sending any sort of food long-distance is a dodgy endeavour. Despite this, sharing food remains one of the most nourishing, thoughtful gifts. As a sort of middleman, Olivia Mossuto will serve as the link between artists and audience. Artists will have the opportunity to send a message to someone in Olivia’s surrounding community, as a sort of secret pen pal, random act of kindness, and transient artwork. These “telegrams” will be attached to a small box filled with potatoes for the recipient to either cook or plant. The telegrams are completely free for both the artist and audience involved. Artists may not receive a response, but the existence of a telegram, means the existence of a potatogram. Potatoes will not be given out without telegrams.

What is in a telegram?

  • Anything, it is free-reign for the artist. It can be in another language, it can be a poem, a textual sculpture, or an image.
  • It can be as quick and casual as possible, or intense and invested
  • Adheres to one to five pages in a docx, jpeg, psd, tiff, or png file format (I only have so much printer ink!)

Why potatoes?

  • The harvests of sugar and chocolate have horrific histories, and it is still very difficult to ethically source sweets today.
  • Potatoes are a comedic, sad tuber, but at the same time they have so many possibilities – mash them, boil them, fry them, slice them – everyone loves potatoes in its range of forms. 
  • Potatoes are not a common allergen – people with celiac, nut allergies, and other dietary restrictions can eat potatoes. 
  • It is a common staple we take for granted. They may not be as pretty as sweets, but they last long, they nourish, and if they sprout, they can be planted. 
  • In crisis, potatoes are nutritious! Candy is empty calories. 

To send a telegram, please email livmossuto@gmail.com or contact me on WhatsApp! Each artist will be paired with a recipient – only first name and age will be provided. Questions can be directed to the above email as well. Deadline for the first batch of grams is May 27th, 2020.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *