Week 3: Potatograms

As a continuation of the ongoing project “AT THE TABLE, IS WHERE WE MEET”, week three explores the different ways in which food has been used to communicate. As a sterile example of a 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 has and will continue to mitigate links between artists and audience. Artists have had the opportunity to send a message to someone in Olivia’s surrounding community, as a sort of secret pen pal and transient artwork. The “telegrams” are 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. Put simply, the project lives thanks to artist initiative.

Why potatoes?

  • The harvest of sugar and chocolate have horrific histories tied to colonial rule and slavery, 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. 

Participating artists include:

  • Holly English
  • David Mook
  • Stephen Nulty
  • Alan Powdrill
  • Paul Radocchia
  • Claudia Palermo
  • Claudia Sambo
  • Dani Tagen

Thank you all for your incredibly engaged submissions! Below is the documentation of all telegrams sent and recieved:

The packages left on each doorstep:

For those artists still interested, the project is rolling and I will be accepting submissions indefinitely! Email livmossuto@gmail.com for submission details.

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