the underground potato

A project by Ann Messner, Laurie Arbeiter and Sarah Wellington

Saturday, May 30, 2015 from 12pm to 5pm
Corner of Delancey and Essex streets

the underground potato is a hybrid, fully operational sweet potato food cart equipped with a flat-screen media component. It is conceived as both a place to pick up a freshly baked and nutritional ’sweetie’ and to take time to watch and discuss the daily ‘media’ offerings. The project is reminiscent of the sweet potato cart once commonplace on the Lower East Side of the1940-60’s and the urban newsstand, a place where people gathered during the day to debate hot topics. It is fully compliant with current food cart department of health code. the underground potato is conceived of as a generator of social interaction for the street_an agent provocateur if you will.

the underground potato made its debut for The Real Estate Show: What Next, 2014 at Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space. This project/object serves the collective memory, offering food for thought, in its interrogation of the transition from self-governed vendors to an increasingly gentrified marketplace. As the city we knew vanishes rapidly before our eyes, the sweet potato cart re-emerges on the Lower East Side. the underground potato occupies the visible city. 

During the Ideas City festival on Saturday, May 30, the underground potato was operating at the corner of Delancey and Essex street.

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About IDEAS CITY Festival (New Museum)
“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.” —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities.

The theme of this year’s IDEAS CITY Festival is The Invisible City, an homage to Italo Calvino’s literary masterpiece of 1972. This theme is rooted in civic action, with each of the Festival’s platforms serving as an invitation to explore questions of transparency and surveillance, citizenship and representation, expression and suppression, participation and dissent, and the enduring quest for visibility in the city.