Project: S/H/O/O/K The Edible Earthquake

Artist: Tony Banuelos, Peter Culley, Jason Keller for Los Angeles Easts Itself

Photographer: Peter Culley / Jason Keller


Los Angeles Eats Itself:
with Tony Baneulos, Peter Culley, Jason Keller, David Anthony David Jess Wang
Max Fordham & Partners

Client: Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

Status: Completed


Selection for LA:CURRENTS Triennial by Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs



Just like it’s famous predecessors, this pyramid is both structurally pragmatic and symbolically potent. As the never-occupied Mayan inspired Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House it sits beside, it defines an enigmatic cavity, unseen but implicit. Precious contents are locked tight in a climatically moderated interior environment until fermentation is complete, ready to provide nourishment in the second phase of a post-disaster scenario. The form, like the overall Edible Earthquake event, charts a dialogue between mundane survival and beyond-the-need worship.

Research physicists at @maxfordhamllp helped define the approach for a low tech refrigerator using ice that would melt gradually over a 28-day period, keeping the fermenting foods at the correct temperature through an evaporative cooling method. The pyramid is a 3-layer Russian Doll with an outer skin shade from ubiquitous awning fabric, a painted plywood triangle structural middle zone, and an inner core mini-pyramid of inch-thick cardboard packed with ice around fermenting food canisters, altogether creating a temperate microclimate under the California sunshine.

The super-graphic hieroglyphs on each of the four outer panels are visible from emergency helicopters and describe the food fermentation status inside, whilst defining the fetish identity for the pro-social spectacle.

During the month of October a number of survival food workshops took place by various MRE (meal-ready-to-eat) artists including Tony Banuelos, David Anthony David, and Jessica Wang who recognise going beyond the essential in disaster relief food is actually essential in mental health terms at times of crisis.

The pyramid-pantry was finally mined for its contents at the end of the month with its interior and facade put to important new uses for the final last survivalist supper.

S/H/O/O/K: Surviving Humans Of Other Kinds.

Weather it out with us…

  • 1/ The fermenting pantry with the Hollyhock House garden wall

  • 1/ The fermenting pantry in the sunshine in Barnsdale Park

  • 1/ The structural layer with ice pantry beyond

  • 1/ The structural intermediate layer

  • 1/ 3 layers of the fermenting pantry - outer shading, middle structure, inner evaporative ice box

  • 1/ Layer 2 being prepared for table use

  • 1/ Assembling the light poles

  • 1/ Intermediate 'wicking layer' is re-used as the banquet table tops

  • 1/ Fermented food by Jess Wang and David Anthony David

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  • 1/ Last Survivalist Supper

  • 1/

  • 1/ Last Survivalist Supper

  • 1/ The pantry in full. Drawing by Peter Culley