Edible Representations

Ali&Cia goes as far as to proclaim the feasibility of the imagery of all reality being edible, concluding that the only plastic matter that exists is food and therefore that reality can be interpreted in edible terms just as painters use pigments and sculptors stone or wood to express their views.

Alicia Ríos

Asked what she does, these days Alicia often replies 'I represent reality in food'. For over ten years now, working with Barbara Ortiz and other collaborators as Ali&Cia, she has been employing food to reinterpret our surroundings in a fantastical semiotic game of illusion and visual pun. Their representations are not the gingerbread houses or theme birthday cakes you might imagine, highly decorative pieces where the game is only a surface conceit. More important to her than verisimilitude are the references and symbolism of the ingredients and elaborated dishes themselves, which form part of a larger proposal.

Alone and as part of Ali&Cia, she's created edible people, hats, logos, green houses, libraries and even whole cities. Some have been created with the help of collaborators, others, such as Eating the City, Melbourne, involved large-scale community participation. They are often asked to create works to celebrate inaugurations or anniversaries, events where one normally finds food and there is a strong symbolic and narrative content. What Ali&Cia does is bring the two together in a way that is meaningful to the participating community or association, creating a specific ritual/performance that caters to their identity and desires.

Equally as important as the creative processes of constructing the work are its presentation and, finally, its consumption, as all Ali&Cia's works are, in the end, to be eaten. The presentation of the work to the public is often a highly theatrical affair, perhaps emphasising the roles of collaborators or reflecting the theme of the work. The aim is always to create a special atmosphere in which the public approach the work with open eyes and curiosity. As in her Sensory Concerts, the public's experience of the work is central. The works are not only participatory in their creation and interpretation but in that they are physically assimilated by the public, transgressing the typical division between work and spectator. They invite us to reconsider our surroundings and our relationship to them, in addition to our relationship to food.


Otras Fagias (see video)

Video by Diego Vega for Ali&Cia (Spanish)