Please Eat the Art featuring Ananas Ananas – Saie

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Please Eat the Art featuring Ananas Ananas

We sat down with our friends and artist-duo Ananas Ananas to chat about the art of slowing down, their first beauty collab and working with food as a way of creating intimacy. 

In your own words, what do you do

We are an art studio focused on creating edible installations and dining experiences that encourage our audience to interact with food in a multi-sensory and experimental way. Our experiences are intentionally temporary, meant to be enjoyed mindfully and to facilitate intimately present moments. We are constantly learning and evolving our work and our collaboration with Saie opened a new chapter for us in being able to bring our product and installation design and development work into projects in different industries.


What was the original spark that started everything?

Conceiving Ananas Ananas was sort of a natural move for both of us. The year we met, we were each at points in our lives where we felt called to something new, but hadn’t yet found the right partner to make that a reality. We found ourselves instant friends and, as we got to know each other, we found that our values, our goals we wanted to achieve and projects we dreamt of were totally aligned. In this collaboration, we were able to marry the three things we loved and respected the most: good food, good art and good design.


We decided to do a small food installation for some friends in Elena’s living room. We hung fruits, veggies, cheese and bread from fishing wire and from their reactions we thought, ‘Oh, everybody is so interested in this'. Some people were going in with their mouths. Some people were using napkins. Some were on the sidelines staring. It was an interesting study of looking at people figure out this way of eating and we felt there was something there that needed to be expanded on.

 

Why did you pick food as your medium?

Elena was born and raised in Los Angeles in an Armenian family as a first generation American. Because of that, she was always surrounded by traditional family values related to the kitchen and food. Tables were always full with an abundance of dishes, so much so that there would be soda cans stacked on top of each other as pedestals to make room for the extra plates coming out from the kitchen. Stories were often shared from the previous generation about “back then”, along with a toast from each family member every few minutes, filled with thanks, well wishes, gratitude, moments of silence, laughter, arguments and sometimes tears. The vast emotional roller coasters that took place around the table were fascinating. What was it about being surrounded by food that made everyone feel so vulnerable? This mysterious force drive’s Elena’s work as half of Ananas Ananas. In the past, the women in her family were predominantly home cooks, while the men were artists and entrepreneurs. Elena’s work blends these roles into something new—something altogether.


Verónica was born and raised in Tijuana, where her family moved after Sinaloa. Her Northern Mexican heritage consisted of freshly caught seafood, loud chatter, and constantly operating in high gear. Since she was a child, her family’s favorite activity was dreaming up the next big dish to eat together. Whether it was proposing a big feast or going for dinner at their favorite taco place, food was the common denominator. She admires her parents, who were raised in poverty and had to work hard to make a better living, because they showed her that having a family who takes the time to cook lengthy, traditional dishes was a luxury in and of itself. Without a doubt, the practices she adopted were strictly sustainable, since having enough food at the table was something that they always worked for. Her family taught her that every part of the ingredient is edible and never goes to waste: from curing to pickling to fermenting, food was viewed as something cherished. For Verónica, food is a sacred piece of the earth, and through Ananas Ananas, she has found a way to make it playful and worth sharing. Zero waste practices and breaking the norm of fine dining is central to her work, this idea that humans need to connect and diversity makes the world evolve. Everybody needs to try weird, new shit to start thinking and adapting differently.


How do your objects factor into your installations?  

Our objects aren’t used in our installations. Each installation is custom designed and fabricated and it’s a different part of what our studio does. Our collection of objects is a result of our observations and data collected on the certain patterns portrayed by guests at our experiences as individuals and as a collective. Regardless of culture, upbringing, circumstance or location in the world, the result of those findings has been interpreted with the collection. Our objects highlight the importance of introducing experimental dining pieces in order to promote intentionality around the table, without creating a barrier between the people who are using it and the food being served. Both sculptural and functional the designs imply that post use, the objects will live displayed out in the open rather than tucked away.


What would you say is the common goal with each of your pieces, whether they be installations or objects?

All our installations and anytime we design we are always indirectly highlighting the importance of shifting one’s focus to slow down time at the table or around food/eating, to be present and to create community. Until now tableware has traditionally been in similar shapes and forms across most cultures. With the introduction of these experimental objects and the immersive installations we design, we aim to awaken a part of the mind that has not yet been exercised.


How has the studio evolved since its inception? What do you dream for its future?   

When we started in 2019 there were only a handful of other creatives working with food in this way and we didn’t really have a clear vision of what we wanted, just that we loved doing it and continued to follow that feeling. Since then we’ve evolved our skills, team, clients and scope of work. With each project comes new challenges and the beauty of our work is that we will always have to problem solve which will help us continue to push boundaries and continue growing. There are some things we look forward to in the future such as a workshop/studio space. For now we work with fabricators that have their own workshops but to have one of our own would be a game changer but the last 3 years have proved to us that loving what you do and being present with that feeling and not projecting too far into the future is how we like to keep going.

Photos by: @plainsightstudios

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