Multiplying meals

Lucy and Jorge Orta's 70 x 7 The Meal takes its cue from an ancestral ritual and encourages networking, socialising and discussions around food.

From the Series

Artists Lucy and Jorge Orta’s 70 x 7 The Meal, takes its starting point from a multiplication game designed to stimulate conviviality and communication. “We have reinterpreted the biblical signification ‘forever’ (Luke 17:4) using it as a pretext for multiple encounters of seven guests who each invite seven guests, who each invite seven guests... Ad infinitum,” explains Lucy.

Initiated in 2002, the Ortas have staged over 40 meals across the world. Each of the 26 versions of the meals has its own bespoke porcelain and hand-embroidered never-ending tablecloth. The unusual, provocative locations on bridges and in galleries also contribute to the experience.

“We transform the ancestral ritual of the meal into an ongoing series of dynamic events, networking people from different horizons, to eat, meet, discuss and debate important issues,” the fashion designer turned artist continues.

Their oeuvre driven by a sense of social responsibility, the Ortas were originally inspired by the work of Rafael Garcia Herreros who created a series of fundraising banquets for the urban social development programme El Minuto de Dios, in the heart of a deprived area in Bogotá in Colombia. The funds raised through these dinners helped to build community schools, family housing with gardens, a theatre, a contemporary art museum, small factories and a university. His project radically transformed one of the most abandoned zones of the city of Bogotá.

Says Orta: “On discovering his life-long work, we decided to continue in his memory. His vision demonstrates the energy and capacity of transformation that culture and education can play in regenerating and developing communities.”