For this project, La Table, the artist Julie Faubert hosted two meals in Parc Ethel Stark. At the first one, guests from a wide range of backgrounds were recorded having conversations about the role of public spaces in their lives, inspired by the park’s recent name change. A few months later, in the same park, Faubert set up a table and invited people to share a meal while listening to recordings of those earlier conversations. 

Being in the same space and listening to the voices of people who have been there before might be an unusual kind of dinner party, but it can help us think about connecting with each other across time and distance.

Think about an outdoor place you love. What do you see and hear when you’re there? Describe those things in writing, or try drawing them from memory. Can you imagine what was there 100 years ago? What about 1000 years ago? What might be there 100 years in the future?


Do you ever eat outside, in a garden or a park? What is your favourite park? Try recreating the picnic experience indoors: grab a blanket and a snack, set them up inside, and do some online research about the park you chose. Whose land is it on? Who works in this park? Who built it? Has the name ever changed? Is it public or private? Talk about ways you could help take care of the park as a family, and make a plan for your next picnic there.


Think about a special meal you had recently. Where were you? Who cooked it for you? Call someone who loves to cook (maybe a grandparent, a family friend, or a teacher) and ask them what their meals were like as a child. What kind of food did they eat? Where did they live? What was their home like? Think about yourself as a researcher collecting stories. If they give their consent, record the interview with your phone (use Voice Memos, Google Keep, Evernote or something similar). Or, ask them to share one of their favourite recipes with you, write it down, and try making it as a family!

What is dinner like at your home? Imagine a dinner at the site of your home 100 or 1000 years ago. What types of food would the people living there eat? What languages might they speak? What would they talk about? Now imagine a dinner 100 or 1000 years in the future, and ask yourself the same questions. Make a few blank cards with scrap paper and number them. On each one, write down a question you would like to ask someone eating a meal in the same spot either in the distant past or future. At your next meal, pick cards randomly and try coming up with answers as a family. Do you imagine the past and future in similar ways?




More from our files!

Take a look at this photo gallery and video to see how La Table participants shared a meal and a collective experience of past and present.


Each week, explore projects from our archives through two series of conversation starters and DIY experiments. Our series for families introduces projects which help us imagine new ways of being together and being at home during this period of physical distancing, with activities to try and questions to ask each other. Our series for the general public brings together projects from our archives which have explored various kinds of intimate ecologies, and prompts reflection and conversation to nourish our collective imagination.