Milk Bar

If you can, what do you put on your plate, in the short circuit, or should we say the current freak show of the gig economy?

We were not hired for deliveries, but a temp worker riding through the city landscape on their bike once told us; ‘When there were no deliveries to go out they put me in the dining room and back kitchen washing dishes. They would let us drivers go home early when there were not enough deliveries, which made us lose a few hours of payment but gave me more time for my studies. It was hard to know where to store the backpack. In other jobs with tips, you can socially easily work yourself to it, but as a delivery worker, I don’t know. Does flexibility always have to come with zero sense of security?’ It is unclear to us if the avocado tells the story of ambition among university students or if they all just dreamt about a villa in Calabasas while working for goop.

Milk Bar is the third exhibition made by the artistic duo Emotional Channel and consists of a new series of sculptures made in ceramics and textiles.

In strongly labor-driven nation-states; such as Poland and Sweden milk bars were introduced during the first half of the 20th century; bar mleczny and mjölkbar. In a Polish comedy film, “Miś” by Stanisław Bareja from the poor and fragile times of the communist ’80s there is a scene where the cutlery is chained to the table to avoid any petty larceny, one person at the time can use their spoon before it lands on to the other side of the table. Before the soup or stew is served the kitchener roughly secures the plate with a rusty slotted screw, to spice it up a little. In Sweden, the milk bars were developed close to the city’s major workplaces and offered affordable and nutritious food served with hats and outdoor clothes on. The milk bars brought the act of eating your lunch out to basic practicality, as the pleasure in itself while governing the mouths it filled with milk propaganda for strong legs, alcoholic restrictions, and hygiene routines. Simplicity and soberness in the purest form develop figures like the secret cupboard drinker (skåpsupare) and wine Tetra Paks Basics; blue and white (blåvitt). In countries like Australia, the UK and the USA the milk bar concept was more understood as a small shop or deli on the corner.

A great deal of drama we were able to avoid.

Emotional Channel’s Milk Bar at Olga’s Flat, Berlin 12.12.2012 – 20/01.2021 Photos made with a generous help by Wera Bet, Isabelle Graeff, Agnieszka Kucharska and Maciej Łuczak <3

This project is supported by CBK Rotterdam (Center for Visual Arts Rotterdam)