Corn / Meal

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Exhibit Columbus 2019

Corn / Meal is designed to create a space for people to have a direct, proximate, and meaningful relationship to their food system, and to cultivate food literacy through the act of eating at a shared community table. 

Almost one quarter of the surface area of Indiana is taken up by corn production, but few people actually know why it’s grown, what it’s used for, and where it ends up. This installation brings the ubiquitous background landscape of corn into the foreground in order to call attention to the fact that only about 1% of all the corn grown in the country is eaten by people in a relatively unprocessed form. The landscape of the installation is designed to be legible; zones of planting represent different proportional outputs of industrial corn production. For example, 46% of all corn grown in the country is used for animal feed, and 30% is used for ethanol production. 

The planted landscape is a teaching tool, and will be utilized for cross-disciplinary study at Central Middle School. Curricular integration will include pollination and germination studies with science classes, as well as art, literature and consumer science classes. Seasonal change is an active component of the design itself; watching the plants grow through the summer and then age as the temperature falls will be a daily reminder of visitors’ connection to the planet.  

The picnic table is a recognizable symbol of a shared meal, and has been modified in our installation to accommodate a range of uses from small informal gatherings of students, to classroom and instructional use, to informal play, to community meals. The design of the table is inclusive, accessible, and modular, and accepts a wide range of reconfigurable and programmed uses. 

Project Details

39.2014, -85.9214

Location: Columbus, Indiana

Year: 2019

Status: Completed

Exhibit Columbus