janet carter & Elizabeth pedler | eat the city

Imagine a world where urban food-supply chains have collapsed. Where and how will we find food in order to survive? Eat the City poses this dystopic hypothesis and explores the possibilities it raises for generating a community-activated artwork based in the Perth CBD.

Eat the City is an on-going social experiment based on the principles of food and knowledge sharing, theoretically underpinned by ideas around increased global precarity and building resilience. For Know Thy Neighbour, artists Janet Carter and Elizabeth Pedler undertook a research residency, working with a number of collaborators with expert knowledge of urban survival, native and foraged foodstuffs. Learning about food precarity from multiple viewpoints, the artists collected stories and mapped contemporary and historical free food resources in the CBD.

Carter and Pedler are continuing to use this data to build an interactive map and wiki, charting the wild and free food available in Perth. The research residency culminated in three participatory city walks, each tracing, mapping and storytelling food and survival in the city. They were led by guides Brooke ‘Sparkles’ Murphy, Dale Tilbrook, Malcolm Kaui and Len, each with varying specialisation, from indigenous food cultivation to wild and foraged food.



Edible weeds and foraged foods with Brooke ‘Sparkles’ Murphy.

Sparkles shared her knowledge of uncommon and unusual foods that can be found growing in the city.


Urban hunting with the homeless - Mal and Len.

While both Mal and Len now live in supported housing, they have extensive experience of living on the streets and the ways in which the hunt for food structures on the streets brings people together. Their walk followed the Tranby-to-RUAH food trail, sharing insights into the precarity, resourcefulness and resilience of the homeless.


Indigenous food culture before colonisation, with elder Dale Tilbrook.

Dale's walk took participants through one of the recent urban transformations of the river's edge at East Perth. She shared her knowledge of the indigenous seasons, culture and land management, bringing to life the complex and sophisticated cultivation systems that have been lost to colonisation and urban development.

about the artists

Janet Carter completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Edith Cowan University in 2008, followed by Honours in Contemporary Arts in 2010. She is currently a PhD candidate, researching contemporary performance practice, at UWA. Carter’s practice embraces a range of practices and forms, including performance, new media and installations. Her early work was concerned with investigating contemporary conceptions around gender, sexuality, desire and embodied identity. Her current work expands on this, to incorporate notions of immateriality, ephemerality and embodied mindfulness practice. She is currently marrying her love of cooking and conversation with a politics of kindness to create a micro-economy built around gift giving and sharing. Carter has contributed to a number of group exhibitions, including HATCHED, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (2008), Video Killed The Radio Star, Horus & Deloris Contemporary Art Space (2008), and Queer City Lane Dwellers, Guildford Lane Gallery, Melbourne (Midsumma Festival 2009). Her recent solo show (How to be seen, Paper Mountain, 2014) marked a new period in her practice that began with a 2013 residency at PICA and has continued into her studio practice at cia studios.

Elizabeth Pedler was born and raised in Perth, and attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts with First Class Honours at the University of Western Australia. Her work has been shown at TarraWarra Museum of Art, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, The Jewish Museum of Australia, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Harvest Music Festival (Melbourne), Melbourne Fringe Festival and Gertrude Street Projection Festival. Pedler has held solo or two-person exhibitions at Free Range Gallery, Moana Project Space (Perth), Kings ARI, Blindspace Artist Run Space, TCB Art Inc, and Top Shelf Gallery (Melbourne). In 2014 Pedler returned to Perth, to undertake Creative Doctoral studies at Curtin University, focusing on participatory art forms and the role of play. Interested in the range of participation possible in art, Elizabeth’s practice spans from playful and interactive installations to collaborative relational aesthetics. Perception and sensation are areas of focus, and her works often involve the use of mirrors, sound, light, and colour and movement.