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Charaben

from march 1st to 10th 2012 Viroflay middle school
Charaben

Food landscape: bento
Project carried out in 2010 at Viroflay secondary school and in 2012 in a primary school class in Versailles.
In partnership with Juliette Cortes, from the art centre La Maréchalerie, Versailles.

Based on a Japanese practice known as charaben, the aim is to get children to create elaborate landscapes using food from a variety of sources, playing on the idea of fresh and out-of-date food.

The charaben stems from a daily Japanese practice: in the morning, children leave for school with their bento, a lunch box containing their lunch. To make this meal more appetising, some parents started to create menus that were as good as they were beautiful to look at, with references to the world of children (manga characters, animals).
Others took the idea a step further, and charaben was born: in the space of the box, real landscapes or scenes with characters are organised, made entirely from food and tinted rice.

Artists have regularly worked with these food materials: to create scenes to be photographed, like Carl Warner, or to play with the natural evolution of non-perennial products over time, like Michel Blazy. It is also, of course, a reference to the vanities of classical painting. Dorothée Seltz, Pamela Oliver, Philippe Dereux, eat art...

Initially, the idea will be to offer edible raw materials from all over the world, and to work together to find out where they come from, how they got here and why.
In a sort of culinary laboratory, we will then test these materials: their properties, how they change over time and how they can be transformed.
Using all these elements, each group of children will reflect on the imaginary landscape they wish to create. This landscape will then be photographed at regular intervals, to see how the foods that make it up change over time.

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Karine Bonneval