[-empyre-] EXCEDENTES/EXCESS Collabroation

Ricardo Miranda Zuniga ricardo at ambriente.com
Tue May 21 04:14:23 EST 2013

Hello Everyone,
Renate thank you for inviting Brooke and I to join this week's
discussion.  I'm going to focus my thoughts on a current collaboration
that began virtually in 2011, developed in parallel in Madrid and
Brooklyn with an initial action in Madrid and continues to expand now

In early 2011, the culture and art center Matadero Madrid began an
initiative that was to pair Spanish artists with artist from elsewhere
to collaborate.  The space and exhibition itself "El Ranchito" would
focus on process as art.  One of the curators Nerea Cavillo put us in
contact with Jose Luis Bongore and Beatriz Marcos based on mutual
interest - very generally that of art as action in the public sphere
to question modes of globalization.  (As Paul enumerated - (1) Shared
Agendas.) Over a two week period, we used Skype, Google Docs (now
Drive) and email to generate the proposal.  And the team
EXCEDENTES/EXCESS was awarded residency for Brooke and I and a
generous production commission.  As the final culmination of the
collaboration was to be presented in Madrid, the proposed project
focused on food waste in Madrid at a time of heightened unemployment
when a growing demographic was/is turning to dumpster diving for
sustenance, but the act of dumpster diving is illegal and may result
in a 750 euro fine.  The artists proposed to collaborate with
traditional markets (as opposed to supermarkets) to collect food that
was to be thrown away at the end of the day and re-distribute on the

We continued virtual collaboration throughout the summer and fall of
2011 and elected to do the same investigation in Brooklyn as Madrid.
In Madrid, the team effectively established relationships with food
vendors willing to participate and worked with TODO POR LA PRAXIS to
construct a food rescue and re-distribution cart - "Carrito Mermas."
In Brooklyn, we discovered the Good Samaritan Law that protects from
liability those who give reasonable assistance, including food
redistribution and we discovered that a more urgent problem in NYC was
all the food waste going to landfill.  Since NYC has some 1200 soup
kitchens and City Harvest rescuing food and dumpster diving is not
against the law, the Brooklyn research lead to generating ways to
deter food from landfill.

Brooke and I landed in Madrid, we worked with Jose Luis and Beatriz to
assemble all our research for public presentation.  We took the
Carrito Mermas out for collection and redistribution and we brain
stormed on how to move forward.  The following are a few of the
transformations of the collaboration:

1. As Brooke and I explained the Good Samaritan Law in the US, Jose
Luis and Beatriz moved to establish a similar proposal in Madrid.
Following discussions with law professors and round table was
assembled and legal proposal began to take form.  Effectively, the
project changed from a food collection cart to 15+ person team
including law professionals and community representatives to form a
bill that would facilitate the redistribution of good food.

2. In Brooklyn, we have constructed a food rescue and composting
quad-cycle that traverses Crown Heights, Prospect Heights and Park
Slope as spectacle and conversation generator.  We have partnered with
one restaurant to collect its organic waste and have established a
composting lot.  The goal is that of micro-composting as the problem
with composting in NYC is scale (unlike cities like San Francisco or
Portland) and to show local businesses that composting is good and
saves them money.

Most of Paul's points make a lot of sense to us.  This project has
grown and transformed due to a shared agenda; parity - a mutual
dedication has been necessary; and a slightly different take on
nomadism - a similar agenda will have different outcomes based on
local issues and agreed that a varying skills or flexibility is
essential.  One point of disagreement is 2. The Non-Rational: Working
with people that you may disagree with to arrive at a community-based
initiative can be more challenging and potentially rich on a
social/community basis than collaborating with ones drinking buddies
(or whatever ;)

We do have a video that presents the various facets of the project in
5 and a half minutes:


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