REAL-time-FOOD Project Begins in Osaka, Japan!

REALtimeFOOD project poster
REALtimeFOOD project poster

Have you ever been upset at the slow service of a restaurant? Just wait until you visit the restaurant that we are opening for two days in Osaka, Japan.

You’ll have to wait seven weeks (while we grow and harvest it) between ordering and eating your dinner.

Part performance art, part community engaged garden, our REALtimeFOOD food project is a celebration of our relationship with the earth, with good food, and with each other.

In between the “dinner ordering” and the “dinner serving” Suhee and Patrick will put on six weeks of “nature art” workshops in an urban garden in Osaka. All of these works are based around the “Final Straw” mentality of cultivating deeper ecologically interconnected ways of thinking and being.

As you can imagine, it’s been a relatively intense several months of planning for this project, especially given that the language barrier adds about 3x the amount of time as would normally be required. We’re meeting tomorrow with our coordinator and curator Ikumasa Hayashi, who sometimes feels like superman to us. He has essentially managed the entire process of getting this project to happen, from the flyer design to working out event details. We have no idea what we’d do without him. Honestly.

If you have the occasion to be in or around Osaka, you’re quite welcome to join us. In addition to all of the workshops being free to the public, anyone is also welcome to join us in the mornings during the week at the urban garden to say hi or help out a bit.

Here’s the Osaka schedule:

All workshops will be conducted in English and Japanese, and are meant to cultivate ecologically interconnected ways of thinking and being; encouraging deeper, more socially integrated relationships between humanity and the natural world.

13 JUNE – 7pm
Dinner Ordering Event

You walk into an empty ‘restaurant’ with no cook, no dinnerware, and no food, and order dinner. The waiter tells you “thank you, please come back in several weeks, after we grow your food.”

This is opening event of REALtimeFOOD, a two month series of community events hosted by Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang, an ecological artist team who are in Osaka to explore our connections with food and nature in the city.

20 JUNE – 7pm
Artist Talk and Opening Party

Artists Patrick and Suhee talk about their documentary project “Final Straw: food, earth, happiness,” which was filmed over four years in Japan, Korea, and the USA; and why they are using art and community interactions to help people cultivate new relationships with nature.

Artwork made from soil and plant material at our test workshop
Made from soil and plant material!

27 JUNE – 10am
Soil Art Workshop

Patrick leads us on a tour of the soil in the garden and surrounding areas, exploring what we can paint with just soil and plants as materials. Paper and paintbrushes will be provided.

4 JULY – 10am
Flower Art Workshop (part 1)

This is a two-part workshop. In this first part, Suhee takes us on a tour of the garden and neighborhood in search of flower petals and leaves. Participants will learn how to pick, save, and press the leaves to preserve them. Please bring an old notebook or old book that you won’t mind getting a little dirty!

11 JULY – 10am
Nature Feeling Drawing Workshop

Patrick guides us through an exercise in “feeling” the nature in our city using all of our senses, smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight. Finally, participants will create their own artworks, songs, or performances based on their new perceptions of the city.

18 JULY – 10am
Flower Art Workshop (part 2)

This is a two part workshop. In this second part, participants will use the leaves and flower petals they collected in the previous workshop to make artworks. Please bring the leaves and petals that you collected in the previous workshop. For new participants who missed the first flower art workshop, we may have a few extras to share!

24 JULY–
5pm | Nature Art Exhibition

7pm | RealTimeFood Dinner

It’s our closing exhibition! Come and enjoy a night by the garden, experiencing the wonderfully varied artworks created by the community. Dinner will be served for those who ordered at the opening event, and “garden tastings” will be available to everyone who comes!


After the closing of this show, we’re working for another month (July 27 – August 21) at Contemporary Art Space Osaka where we will create an interactive installation where visitors help build an urban nature mandala. This is part of the Robert Callender International Residency for Young Artists and we are absolutely excited about this as well. More information to come on that soon…

How do we pull projects like this off? With the help and donated time, both from ourselves (we don’t make money from these things) and from a host of people who are just as passionate as we are about things like ecology, community, and happiness.

This project was also funded in part by generous grants from Chishima Foundation for Creative Osaka, Robert Callender International Residency for Young Artists, and Clean Brothers.