Nicola Twilley is a busy gal.
She writes a blog called Edible Geography, co-founded the Foodprint Project, and runs Studio-X NYC, a cities think-tank/event space, for Columbia University. In her “free” time, she obsesses about refrigeration, curates an exhibition exploring North America’s cryosphere, and traveled around North America with a pop-up interview studio and multimedia rig. Did we mention she’s also made a scratch ‘n sniff map of New York City?
It should come as no surprise then that her idea for AWB was a grand one: a two-week story-telling residency in La Central de Abasto in Mexico City.
La Central is one of the largest wholesale markets in the world — up to 30% of all the food sold in the entire country passes through it every day. Accompanied by a Mexican photographer and translator, Nicola will spend one workday at a time in different sectors and with different actors — from flowers to fruit and from cargadores to cleaners — recording their stories and documenting their day-to-day activities.
Each day, at the market’s close, they will put together a beautifully designed broadside of their findings: photographs, stories, and infographics that bring to life the people and unpack the mysteries of this “Axis of Food.” Each day’s broadside will thus focus on one facet of the market: ice vendors, carrot cartels, truck drivers, etc. Then Nicola and co will print and distribute these broadsides as food wrappers at the city’s public and street markets, where much of the produce sold at La Central ends up. They will also publish them online (in collaboration with the BBC), and, at the end of the project, display them in tear-off pads as an exhibition in DF and then NYC. The market is amazing and mysterious, even to 99% of the residents of Mexico City: this project will help bring its daily operations and idiosyncrasies to life for the people it feeds.