The Virtual Dinner Guest Project
The Virtual Dinner Guest Project is an international multimedia initiative born from a simple premise: It is harder to ignore, vilify or harm those we have broken bread with.
Look in your fridge or your pantry and you will find definitive endpoints of international commerce, our shelves and iceboxes revealing a veritable UN assembly of products and international partnerships.
At this moment the economic and political destinies of the world’s citizens are more interconnected than ever before. We work collectively to sate all manner of appetites, yet our intellectual and emotional connections to one another have failed to keep pace. What price are we paying for these disparities? What are the political, social and moral costs that come from using the Internet to accommodate our preference for familiar company over voices and experiences that might challenge our view of the world?
The dinner table is arguably the world's oldest and most universal social forum. What if, instead of using technology to isolate ourselves into our various social bubbles, we instead used its tremendous reach to bring things full circle... bringing the world back to the dinner table to discuss, challenge and create together?
The nuts and bolts of the project are straightforward. Imagine making a videoconference call from a dinner table, alongside members of your community with people in another country, while you connect to another group in another country. At the end of each discussion both sides work collaboratively to produce short film projects directed at answering specific cultural or political questions that the other side has posed to them.
Sound crazy? We think so too... but it's working! So far we've completed more than 70 encounters between communities in 20 countries across five continents. And our events have been covered by the international press in half a dozen languages.