Conflict Kitchen sponsors live Skype Meal between Pittsburgh and Tehran, Iran
"A few months ago artists John Peña, Jon Rubin, and Dawn Weleski opened Conflict Kitchen, a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries that the United States is in conflict with. Nowadays the Iranian food is served at the counter. More precisely, the kubideh, a dish made of grilled ground meat in freshly baked barbari bread with onion, mint, and basil. The food is wrapped in a paper covered with facts about Iran, its government, culture and the way the U.S. perceives it. Every four month, a new country takes center stage. For each iteration of Conflict Kitchen, events, performances, and discussion will explore further the culture, politics, and issues at stake.
I found the idea so smart and inspiring that i asked Jon, Dawn and John if i could interview them briefly:
Each Conflict Kitchen comes with a series of events and discussion about the culture and issues at stake with each county. I saw on the Conflict Kitchen blog that you already had a Live Skype Meal between Pittsburgh and Tehran. Which kind of other events are you preparing?
There will be programming for each Conflict Kitchen iteration, hosted at the Waffle Shop. Yes, we just hosted a meal with Pittsburgh and Tehran via live video conferencing (Skype) on Sat., June 5. We invited people to join us for a virtual dinner party with Tehran. A menu was planned with a gallery owner in Tehran that reflected a breadth of traditional Iranian food. Folks in Tehran were invited to join in on the meal that happened concurrently here in Pittsburgh at the Waffle Shop. The event was two hours long and between 30-40 people attended on each end. The conversation ranged from food, to dating, to politics. Our next event will be another live video feed with Tehran in the form of a YouTube video essay, curated by Jon Rubin in Pittsburgh and Sohrab Kashani in Tehran, that highlights uploaded videos by residents of both cities, and will take place Saturday, July 10 at 11.30a. The videos will alternate between Pittsburgh and Tehran, comparing and contrasting the culture of each city. Connected through live video conferencing, the attendees of the event in both cities will then engage in discussion about the cultural and societal morays presented in the videos and YouTube as a resource of both cultural presentation and misrepresentation.
Additional events will include: traditional Persian instrumentalists v. popular Persian music videos and pop music; film screenings from Iranian directors; a forum and discussion on blogging and social media in Iran, and it's role in the Green Movement; and a culminating event in collaboration with local organizations on Pittsburgh's first-ever Persian Cultural Festival."