MMMMM…. Gendai Kitchen: A deliciously innovative curatorial concept

In the summer of 2016, Gendai Gallery — a Toronto institution with a focus on the intersection of East Asian perspectives and diverse cultures— launched the experimental culinary project MMMMM… Gendai Kitchen. This initiative presents programming that aligns itself with the seasons and focuses on a different natural food source in each iteration, or case in point: spring featuring sugar, summer featuring rock, fall featuring seed, and winter featuring salt. Two artists have been assigned to produce content for each season, and with OCAD U alumni including Myung-Sun Kim, Lisa Myers and Stuart Sakai on board, the results have been delectable.

 Summer: Lisa Myers with Myung-Sun Kim, miijim for time beings, 2016. Photo by Morris Lum. 

The program’s curators, Emily Fitzpatrick and Maiko Tanaka, have brought something refreshingly original to Toronto’s art scene. The concept includes more familiar offerings, such as artist-hosted meals, but also a subscription service. Subscribers receive an artist’s multiple for every season of the year, delivered right to their front doors! The multiples are created as collaborative pairings with the artist-hosted presentations in order to highlight and explore the multiple, which enhances the presentation, and vice-versa. For example, in the winter iteration of the project, Mitchell Akiyama’s multiple Elements of Exchange — a collection of synthetically crafted salts mimicking those found in bodily fluids, such as sweat and tears — was used in the food prepared by Stuart Sakai in his workshop Salt of the Body.


Fall: Diane Borsato, ALL OUR FLOURISHING IS MUTUAL, 2016. Photo by Morris Lum. 

The subscription, limited to just 50, is enticingly exclusive, and yet accessible. The price tag for this four-piece artwork delivery service is a mere $250. Furthermore, if the cost of a year-long membership is still out of reach, the programming around the multiples is free to all. Not only are the events free, but they also take place in various locations such as Artscape Gibraltar Point and the Theatre Centre, which engage and bring together different communities from across the city.


Winter: Mitchell Akiyama, Elements of Exchange, 2017. Photo by Jacob Pojar.

Beyond its creative and accessible format, MMMMM… Gendai Kitchen is also vanguard because of the ideas it tackles. The five Ms of MMMMM… Gendai Kitchen function as both a clever onomatopoeia and acronym. According to the prospectus, the Ms stand for Mapping, Myth, Mobility, Magic and Migration, and together act as “maxims for a deeper, complicated and historical engagement with contemporary food politics, economy and place.” For example, Diane Borsato’s event ALL OUR FLOURISHING IS MUTUAL (BREAD AND HONEY) at The Drake Hotel served up a sampling of five honeys produced throughout the GTA, which revealed distinct flavour variations among products from different neighbourhoods and beekeepers. The presentation encouraged visitors to reflect on the movements of flora and fauna throughout the city, the potential to integrate oneself into the ecosystem in a healthy way, and what one can learn from eating locally.


Winter: Mitchell Akiyama, Elements of Exchange, 2017. Photo by Jacob Pojar.

Although three seasons have already passed, it’s not too late to experience spring with Gendai Kitchen. The upcoming season will celebrate the motif of sugar with an event by Lesley Loksi Chan, and a multiple by Karen Tam. For more information please visit


By Emily Cluett, MFA, Criticism and Curatorial Practice, 2017
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Friday, November 29, 2013 - 5:00am to Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 5:00am

Opening: November 29, 2013 from 6 to 9PM

A Biomapping Project

“The boundary is permeable between tool and myth, instrument and concept, historical systems of social relations and historical anatomies of possible bodies, including objects of knowledge. Indeed, myth and tool mutually constitute each other.”
- Donna Haraway

Proofofproofofconcept presents both proof and concept in double entendre—as words that produce the science machine, data, desire and self. Here, we scatter remnants of output and process of the Biomapping project—research creation experiments performed with biodata machines over the past four years at OCADU. Mapping is an epistemological feedback loop; any aestheticization of information creates a story. Biomapping durationally slows practices with biometric machines, stilling the time of data capture, processing and mapping to probe moments rather than bodies. In these intervals we capture expectation, longing for data, desire for being made by machines and for conquering them. In these spaces, we stall norms of processing and output. Through durational and sensorial contact with data and machines, we face the human machine to the biometric technology, tarrying with proof, concept, and making.

Sitting in sensorial experience, data comes into play, and in playing with data’s sense, texture, space, time, and aesthetic, we intervene in it. The ephemera presented provide snapshots of interludes where we reify, submit to and rally against machinic productions. In ongoing loops—pulling, processing and recrafting biodata—we face our desire for data, proof and to play as subject producing machines.

Curators: Paula Gardner and Leigh Ann Pahapill
Team Members: Bohdan Anderson, Patricio Davila, Paula Gardner, Barbara Jenkins, Rob King, Hyein Lee, Ken Leung, Symon Oliver, Leigh Ann Pahapill, Yifat Shaik, Steve Surlin, Andrei Vassilev, Amber Whitenburg, Britt Wray




Venue & Address: 
Graduate Student Gallery 205 Richmond St. Toronto, Ontario