Ayhan Aydin is a meal ecologist based in Stockholm.
Ayhan Aydin has participated in several of Residence Botkyrka’s programmes: Fittja Open 2013, Fittja Pavilion in Venice, the New Biennial for Art & Architecture in Botkyrka 2014 and 2016.
Ayhan Aydin is a meal ecologist who will be working closely with the artists visiting Residence Botkyrka from now on. Interview from Fittja Open 2013 by Joanna Sandell (director, Botkyrka konsthall):
Joanna Sandell: What is a meal ecologist?
Ayhan Aydin: As the name suggests it refers to an interdisciplinary practice. Meal ecology combines gastronomy with the study of ecosystems, and the concept has been around for about 5 years. But more than anything else, it sees the food system as a complete entity, it is a practice that embraces everything from sociology to aesthetics in regards to social sciences, and everything from agroecology to environmental toxicology in regards to natural science. So you could say that I am both a social and a natural scientist.
JS: Food is becoming increasingly popular within contemporary art. But is food art?
AA: Food and art has always had a relationship in the restaurant world, and a meal in itself could be seen as a form of performance art. When you reach a certain level in relation to food is a lot about the tempo, think about a tasting menu, people do things in a certain order, one person is decanting a bottle of wine, another one is doing something else in relation to the meal. You can see it as a form of dance. Or as art, that is.
JS: Can you say anything about what you will do for Fittja Open?
AA: I will work with the prejudiced set of beliefs we have about the meal as such, I want to explore what we perceive as a meal.
JS: You live in Fittja, how have you related to Fittja as part of Fittja Open?
AA: The stereotype of Fittja is to see it as a very conformist and easily defined place. Many people think they know exactly what Fittja is like and what the people who live
are like. The type of architecture found in Fittja also tends to create a very strong prejudice against the people who come from here. Since I also work as a train attendant on the commuter train lines and travel back and forth through the million program areas, I often think of how people view these buildings. The funny thing is that when a phenomena from New York such as urban farming – as a way of getting control over one’s own food – was discovered, everyone on Söder in Stockholm wanted to do just the same. But people here in Fittja have been involved in urban farming for over 20 years in order to get access to food that can’t be found in the stores.