For the last few days, something has felt different in the Common Kitchen. To say we have established a routine would be a white lie, but we have certainly settled into something. There are still as many unknowns and there are things we have come to expect. We know that there will be lunch every day, and we trust that someone else will be there to share it with us. We never know whom, or how many they might be. We know even less about what they might bring to the table.
To call The Common Kitchen a utopia would be grandiloquent; it is no such thing. Yet, somehow, I can’t help but feeling like it is inviting a new way of living, and that it is shifting something in how those who have come to interact with it… I have a whole Ph.D. yet to dig into that feeling, and to find ways of measuring what is happening. For now, I can still simply sit back and enjoy it.
I have done the work of creating ‘temporary communities’ as part of projects a few times before. The Common Kitchen feels like it is edging beyond the temporary. Perhaps, this is partly because it is happening in the town where I live, not just somewhere where I am a guest artist who will soon disappear again.
Making community takes work. It is an effort. It takes focus. It is also no one’s job, no one’s responsibility.
Perhaps, in The Common Kitchen there is something that invites people to make community. There is something in its form that invites its visitors to take care of each other, and to take responsibility for this transient group.
Carolyn serves water, Laura tends to Ewa’s hurt shoulder, Ewa does the dishes.
Bouncing around in my head is the memory of Jo Cox:
We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us