Torolab - CurrentLA Food

Watts Cookbook

Ted Watkins Memorial Park, Watts, Council District 15

Artist's Website

About the Artist

Founded by Raúl Cárdenas, Torolab is an artist collective, workshop, and laboratory of contextual studies that identifies situations or phenomena of interest for research. The group bases its studies in the realm of life styles to better grasp the idea of quality of life. Their work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebæk, Denmark), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), and Museum of Contemporary Art of Sydney, among others. In 2011, Cárdenas founded and directed the Digital and Creative Axis for the Metropolitan Strategic Plan of Tijuana-Rosarito-Tecate and has worked as an advisor to the Tijuana’s government on sustainable city development and social innovation. Cárdenas directs the nonprofit organization Sociedad de Agentes de Cambio and serves as the director of the Transborder Farmlab in Tijuana and the Applied Social Research and Innovation Lab in Tijuana and Mexico City.

About the Artwork

The Tijuana-based collective Torolab uses the term molecular urbanism to describe their community-focused and locally activated research-based art practice. For Watts Cookbook, they use a process of statistical, historical, and political asset mapping. The group observes and records the food memories, habits, and social dynamics of the neighborhood around Ted Watkins Memorial Park in Watts. Torolab’s architectural food stand constructed from vibrantly colored utility crates serves as an open social space to collect recipe contributions for a crowd-sourced cookbook and to cultivate a diverse dialogue around the history of open-fire cooking in urban communities of color. The group seeks to reimagine the reality of food deserts and unearth a truly emotional and psychological restoration of food as a shared value abundant in local hearts and minds.