stories

Eat - Summary

An intimate gesture, trivial and necessary. A daily social ritual, pleasant and agreeable. A celebration that builds, represents and establishes: Eating is the ultimate expression of culture in any community. Deeply rooted in each human being, it interests everyone and unifies individuals and even the outsiders among any group of people. When we feed ourselves, not only are we eating nutrients, we are eating senses. For some, they are senses of spirituality, for others senses of politics, pain, injustice, or simply relief.  The Sub cooperative is on a quest to verbalize the different dimensions of the verb EAT through their images. Their stories tell us about the production and distribution of food, the comparison of food (favorable or not), scarcity, abundance, and the consequences it can have on our bodies, as well as the changing paradigms on quality and quantity. This is a piece that asks the question: How much do our personal contexts, ideologies, the places we live, and our activities effect us at the moment when we decide what and how to eat? 

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18 june 2012. Ocular inspection in Ituzaingo neighborhoods. This judgment against two rural producers who used agrochemicals in theirs fields is the first in South-America.

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Tobías, a vegetarian child in Gaia. Since 1996, the ecovillage is being developed on a 20 hectares’ site in a rural area near Buenos Aires city. They practice Permaculture systems and methods.

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Ondinas farm in San Andrés de Giles in a reunion between responsible consumers and agricultural producers.... (+)

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Víctor Truviano se nutre de bioenergía, una energía vital proveniente del sol y de la vida. Lleva 5 años con la práctica de la alimentación pránica, sin ingerir comida ni liquido.... (+)

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Silvina is waiting in the room of the San Jorge hospital in the suburb of Buenos Aires. She will have a surgery for a gastric by-pass.

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Silvina 13 month after a bariatric surgery. She lose 46 kilos and begin a new life.

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Milk and bread in the «  Mate Cocido  » dinning room of the Slum 1:11:14 of Bajo Flores.

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Vegan birthday in a park of Buenos Aires. Joaquin Espinaca, a famous vegan cook invites his friends to blow of the candle of his watermelon cake in the Pabli park in Buenos Aires.

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Dumpster diving. Ariel follows a diet based on raw-food such as fruits, nuts and seeds, without animal products. All food comes from recycling, collecting what the central market, the little fruit shops or health-stores discard or throw away.... (+)

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The “asados” are the typical reunion in Argentina, this a barbecue with lot of meat. Silvina, who has a gastric ring, just can eat a little but she want to participate of the ritual.

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Food coop of Palermo. This is a group of 25 families; they buy togethers in central market their vegetables.

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Claudia help to serve the dessert in the canteen Mate Cocido of Bajo Flores.

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The fighting cock of Henry, the leader of the “Frente Barrial” and of the canteen.

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Portrait of Vanesa Vázquez. She participates of the gratiferia, a free market in a central park of Buenos Aires. This is a meeting where people offer objects fomenting the detachment of the material and the recycling.... (+)

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More than 240 people eat every day in the canteen «Mate Cocido» of The Bajo Flores slum.

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More than 240 people eat every day in the canteen «Mate Cocido» of The Bajo Flores slum.

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Velatropa is an eco-community of Buenos Aires where most are vegetarian. Ariel Rodriguez Bosio shares with others vegans and fruitarians people, the ethical and healthy reasons of this kind of diet.... (+)

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Ituzaingo neighborhoods in the city of Cordoba.

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Silvina and her son Franco eating front of the TV.

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Medardo Ávila Vázquez. He denounce in 2008 the pollution in Ituzaingo neighborhoods provocated by the soya agriculture.

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“The spoon revolution” is an ecologist association. They participate in the Day out of time in Jaureguí . It is a celebration for the day witch can not enter in the Maya calendar (13 month of 28 days).

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Portrait of Ariel Rodriguez Bosio, a freegan of Buenos Aires. He sleeps in the apartment of his mother in the 17th floor of a building in Buenos Aires. One day, he found in a dumpster two cockerels who where used in a black-magic religious ceremony.... (+)

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Silvina Insalata has a gastric ring. During the first month after the surgery, she only be able to eat a soup.

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Portrait of Ariel Rodriguez Bosio, a freegan of Buenos Aires. The word freegan is a compounded from “free” and “vegan”. Ariel live as a as a urban gatherer in the city trying to reciclate all that he use and live without money.... (+)

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stories

Eat #1: to bite

In Argentina, the statistics say that each inhabitant eats over 70 kg of meat per year. «To be vegetarian or vegan in the country best known for having the “world's finest meat” is like being an atheist at the Vatican», said a dutch tourist in Buenos Aires. Eating is an intimate activity but it is filled with social, cultural or political meaning. Either for health reasons, environmental activism, specism or animal rights defense, vegan people try to explain their lifestyle choice through an ethic system with a political conviction. Veganism (a nutritional lifestyle that chooses not to use any products that come from any sort of animal exploitation, such as honey, leather, cosmetics that have been tested on animals, etc.) means a way to question certain principles of the capitalist society and it can propose different direct actions in order to change it. The vegetarian diet, the recycling of objets and food, «free faires» where different free goods can circulate, the reduction of pollution by the use of bicycles or the developments of squats are example of those actions made by vegans and freegans as a proposal of change from the every-day life action. 

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Portrait of Vanesa Vázquez. She participates of the gratiferia, a free market in a central park of Buenos Aires. This is a meeting where people offer objects fomenting the detachement of the material and the recycling. Her tatoo says: don't eat animals.

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Spoon revolution in the Day out of time in Jauregui. It is a celebration for the day witch can not enter in the Maya calendar.

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Ondinas farm in San Andrés de Giles. Meeting between producers and consumers.

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Lucía Copello in Las Ondinas, a biodinamic farm. She is a famous raw-food chef

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Portrait of Ariel Rodriguez Bosio, a freegan of Buenos Aires. The word freegan is a compounded from «free» and «vegan». Ariel live as an urban gatherer in the city, trying to reciclate all that he uses and live without money.... (+)

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Dumpster diving. Ariel follows a diet based on raw-food such as fruits, nuts and seeds, without animal products. All food comes from recycling, collecting what the central market, the little fruit shops or health-stores discard or throw away.... (+)

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Portrait of Ariel Rodriguez Bosio, a freegan of Buenos Aires.He practices the natural hygiene philosophy in a naturist seek of taking care of his health only with food.

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Portrait of Ariel Rodriguez Bosio, a freegan of Buenos Aires. He sleeps in the apartment of his mother in the 17th floor of a building in Buenos Aires. One day, he found in a dumpster two cockerels who where used in a black-magic religious ceremony.... (+)

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Portrait of Ariel Rodriguez Bosio, a freegan of Buenos Aires.Ariel Choose to live in the city, «fight» against a society which he considered babylon from inside.... (+)

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Portrait of freegans of Buenos Aires. In Velatropa, an eco-community of Buenos Aires where most are vegetarian. He shares with them, others vegan and fruitarians people, the ethical and healthy reasons of this kind of diet.... (+)

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Tobías, a vegetarian child in Gaia. Since 1996, the covillage is being developed on a 20 hectares' site in a rural area near Buenos Aires city. They practice Permaculture systems and methods.

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To make the light christmas, the participants goes to central market to get fruits and vegetables.

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Tobías, a vegetarian child in Gaia. Since 1996, the covillage is being developed on a 20 hectares' site in a rural area near Buenos Aires city. They practice Permaculture systems and methods.

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Since 1996, the first Eco-village is being developed on a 20 hectares' site in a rural area near Buenos Aires city. They practice Permaculture systems and methods.

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Fridge of Joaquin Espinaca, a famous vegan cook.

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Cooking in a show by Joaquin Astelarra «Espinaca» in the Pachmama Cultural center in Buenos Aires.

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Vegan birthday in a park of Buenos Aires.

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Raw food class in El Vidalero.

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Ariel R Bosio is preparing himself for a raw food class in a house called La Kasa for the Vegan Festival, a «contra-flecha».

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Ariel was Kung fu and taichichuan instructor a while ago. He built his dojo down the highway. Now that he is just thinking of detachment from material things, he abandoned the place.

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In Velatropa, after the rain.

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Vegan pic nic and raw food class in Buenos Aires.

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stories

Eat #2: Lose

When she turned 40, she decided that was it. Too many diets and the same amount of failures; an endless issue, that exceeds every aspect of her life and one day it becomes sickness. The decision of getting a gastric by-pass appears to be the only way out. The family gives her support and everybody starts seeing a new beginning for Silvina. The bariatric surgery will give her body back and cast away in old pictures this package she never felt like her own. 

As a school teacher she needs a vital, healthy body , in order to help children to tie their shoes, she says, trying not to think about the constant mocking of the older students. As a woman, she also needs to regain the pride and confidence to for walking down the street without feeling shame. To see pictures of her with her new figure, the one that resembles herself on the '70s, wearing a bikini on the beaches of Mar del Plata. 

Wether through strict diets, physical exercise, gastric by-pass, these attempts to adequate the body to a sometimes impossible ideal tend to forget how eating is a profound cultural action. Most of the times, the food habits are so hard to modify because their are shaped by our family behavior, our everyday routine, the contexts where we exist, our way to understand food as a gift or to eat a lot as a sign of good health. To eat not necessarily means to nourish yourself: sometimes it means a reward, a punishment, a collective feast or the individual guilt. 

This is, somehow, the story of a defeat: a struggle against obesity that destroys the bridges connecting food with pleasure. It is not the story of Silvina Insalata, it is a chronicle of that daily battle, that an increasing part of the population have to carry against themselves and also against the common sense of what it should mean to be beautiful, advertising, food industry, the grants that governments give to transgenic soy producers (the key ingredient inside all junk food). A lost battle, only won against their will. An impossible promise on that one on one fight against desire.

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Monday, January the 03. Silvina Insalta the day before the Bariatric surgery.

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Sunday 29 january 2012, 13 month after, Silvina lose 56 kilos.

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Silvina is going to enter to the Sanatorium General Sarmiento in San Miguel.

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Silvina wait in her room the moment of the surgery.

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Silvina is transferred to the operating room. Her husband, Nestor, go with her.

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Nestor, Silvina 's husband, answer the call of the family during the operation.

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The Bariatric surgery is done with a total anaesthetic.

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First food after the surgery.

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A photo take by an alumn of Silvina. She es a teacher in a school in Mercedes.

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Silvina in the garden of her house.

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Silvina and her husband

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Silvina and her son Franco eating front of the TV.

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Silvina must go each month to a self-help group to talk about the social aspect of food and the problems they have after gastric surgery.

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Silvina with Liliana Agrasar, her the nutritionist.

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The «asados» are the tradicional lunch in Argentina.

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Silvina in her Kitchen. She probably have to take medecine up to the end of her life.

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Sunday 17 july. 6 month later.

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Sunday 18 september.

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Silvina Insalata and her daughter Lucía.

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Silvina in the gymnasium.

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French chips, the food of Yoli, the mother of Silvina.

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Eating looking the TV

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Silvina Insalata front of the glass.

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stories

Eat #3: Live

In a tone of voice that contrasts their strong bulky bodies, they slowly and softly introduce the cooks of the soup kitchen Mate Cocido in the neighborhood of Bajo Flores. Daisy, Eduarda, Desideria, Dora, Lili and Esther: names that sound as though they come from many different places but here they are all Bolivian. I can’t say that they all look alike, however it is still difficult for me to recognize them and remember each one’s name with out doubting myself. Esther is the eldest, and she is also the one whom the people suggest I speak with when I insist upon more candid answers to my questions. The soup kitchen started amid the full-blown crisis in 2001, she lived in this ghetto along the boarder of the city and suffered like everyone else fighting for the most basic needs. Hunger is a difficult memory to erase; «when one’s stomach suffers there is no room for other thoughts», she says. This doesn’t sound like a justification, but Esther insists on talking about it, and she understands what interests me based on the questions I’ve been asking her: food. The people who come here should be arriving shortly with their Tupperware to pick up a serving of soup, meat with some salad, and a nice sweet dessert. The cooking takes time due to the amounts, which require repetitive baking sessions and preparations, yet there are always a few minutes to spare for taking a break once the pots are ready and served on the tables. Esther then tells me what nobody else had wanted to talk to me about. The food arrives every week in accordance with the pre-planned menus; from one week to the next, the menu changes, and overtime it repeats itself in cycles. A truck drops off what is needed to elaborate on the selected dishes from the list. She tells me that the food is classified as such: the winter menu and the summer menu. The latter is fresher because of the salad, and the other is warmer due to the soup, however both are equal in terms of calorie content. I ask, «and what about food for the poor?». Esther talks about the quality, diversity and ingredients. I discover that there is meat from the butcher shop and meat from the soup kitchen, both are cooked and eaten despite their differences. Eventually she realizes when the quality is decreasing, and that’s how she puts it, «decreasing». Esther sports a shirt with Kirchernist sayings, making me doubt her last sentence. Although, some people may be taken in by this «food sanctuary» I have a feeling that Esther wears this shirt with conviction. The urgent has made way for the constructive and one can sense a tone of patience in the air far better from up high on a plateau. In this space which is predominately filled with women and children I feel as though I am an observer, one who is overly visible and bothersome, felt particularly when some girls invite me to eat with them and I turn down the meat because of my unwavering vegetarianism.  In recent years there has been a paradigm shift in the geography of bodies. Foods that make bodies robust and hearty often hide vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. Being overweight does not necessarily mean eating a lot, rather it means eating poorly. I ask Esther, «Are we, indeed what we eat?» before ending the interview. «No, we are much more than that,» she says. «People in Bolivia are not anemic, but rather we are spirited and mindful,» which is what she says just before grabbing a ladle and serving the first plateful. Thinness must also be a state of mind then because Esther doesn’t seem to stop enjoying herself. 

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The canteen receives each week the ingredients for the menus.

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Come back to the State. That's what is written on the wall. The 19 December group is now near of the government.

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Stock room of the organization. That's where they let the «bolsones», that is a kind of recompense for the people who goes to the demonstrations.

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Some people lives in the first floor of the canteen. Their children plays with the children of the cooks.

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The fighting cock of Henry, the leader of the Frente Barrial and of the canteen.

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More bread than meat for the milanesas of the Mate Cocido canteen. Eduarda put a little more of oil before the oven.

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The cookers prepare for 240 people. They seem to conquest new territories each time they finished a salver.

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Esther in the kitchen of the canteen.

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Bread with milk for the afternoon snack.

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Refined products are cheaper but often also poor in vitamins and nutritious elements.

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Victor is addicted to Paco. Sometimes he comes to the canteen to sleep and to eat something.

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It's 19 o'clock. Daisy and Eduardo just finished too cook and they are waiting for the first visitant.

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Claudia help to serve the dessert.

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Meat and rivers of gravy.

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Daisy and Daisideria bring the soup to the canteen.

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Daisy helps to serve the dessert: Jam and cheese.

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Each person has to bring their own cutlery and dish. Some of them take the meal to go, while others decide to eat there.

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Victor is addicted to Paco. Sometimes he comes to the canteen to sleep and to eat something.

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Different generations in the canteen.

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Eat to live. 240 persons goes every day to the canteen Mate Cocido. Those people in general have no other possibility to get aliments. The food is for them not just a finality, also a aim.

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