The Showroom

Book launch: The Empire Remains Shop

With Cooking Sections, Jesse Connuck
and Nadine El-Enany
Monday 14 May 2018
Free, no booking required


Launch of The Empire Remains Shop – Cooking Sections' first book following the eponymous ongoing research and installation. The evening will feature an introduction by the book's editor Jesse Connuck, a response to the book by Nadine El-Enany, the lecture-performance "The Next 'Invasive' is 'Native'" by Cooking Sections, and a Q&A; followed by The Plant That Could Sink Your Mortgage Cocktails.

'Empire shops' were first developed in London in the 1920s to teach the British to consume foodstuffs from the colonies and overseas territories. Although none of the stores ever opened, they were intended to make previously unfamiliar produce and products – sultanas from Australia, oranges from Palestine, cloves from Zanzibar, and rum from Jamaica – available in the British Isles. The Empire Remains Shop speculates on the possibility and implications of selling the remains of the British Empire in London today.

Based on a public installation that took place in London in the autumn of 2016, The Empire Remains Shop book catalogues and develops the installation's critical program of discussions, performances, dinners, installations and screenings hosted at 91–93 Baker Street. The contributions each use food to trace new geographies across the present and future of our postcolonial planet. Structured as a franchise agreement, The Empire Remains Shop lays out some of the landscapes, imaginaries, economies, and aesthetics that future iterations of the shop would need to address in order to think through political counter structures for a better distributed, hyper-globalised world.

Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe) is a duo of spatial practitioners based in London. It was born to explore the systems that organise the WORLD through FOOD. Using installation, performance, mapping and video, their research-based practice explores the overlapping boundaries between visual arts, architecture and geopolitics. Cooking Sections was part of the exhibition at the US Pavilion, 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Their work has also been exhibited at Performa17; 13th Sharjah Biennial; Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin; Storefront for Art & Architecture New York; dOCUMENTA(13); CA2M, Madrid; The New Institute, Rotterdam; UTS, Sydney; HKW Berlin; Akademie der Künste, Berlin; among others. They have been residents in The Politics of Food at Delfina Foundation, London, and Headlands Center for the Arts. The duo were part of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale and 2016 Brussels ParckDesign. Their work has been featured in a number of international publications (Lars Müller, Sternberg Press, Volume, and Frieze Magazine). The Empire Remains Shop is published by Columbia Books on Architecture and the City–Columbia University Press. They currently lead a studio unit at the Royal College of Art, London.

Jesse Connuck is an editor and researcher based in New York. Her current research looks at how global military and humanitarian infrastructures use the idea of 'home' and how these ideas and infrastructures then seep into everyday civilian life. Connuck’s project 'Home is a 3-year shelf-stable pizza' investigated how the American military’s Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs) are designed to help soldiers feel more at home on the battlefield. She is currently the managing editor at Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, and her writing has been published in The New Inquiry, ArchDaily and Harvard Design Magazine.

Nadine El-Enany is Senior Lecturer in Law at Birkbeck School of Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Law. El-Enany teaches and researches in the fields of migration and refugee law, European Union law and criminal justice. She has published widely in the field of EU asylum and immigration law. Her current research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, focuses on questions of race and criminal and social justice in death in custody cases. El-Enany has written for the Guardian, the London Review of Books, Media Diversified, Verso Blog and Critical Legal Thinking. Her book, (B)ordering Britain, on the relationship between British immigration and asylum law, imperialism and the European Union is out with Hart next year.

The Empire Remains Shop is published in 2018 by Columbia Books on Architecture and the City

Supported by the Gaia Art Foundation