The Hinterlands & Friends are hosting dinner and all are invited

MOCAD‘s Mobile Homestead is full-scale replica the late artist’s Mike Kelley’s childhood home made to go into the world. In the spirit of this mission, it’s taking off on tour for a series of participatory dinners created by The Hinterlands with Ava Ansari and Renee Willoughby. Featuring: Alireza Keymanesh (Tehran), Amir Pousti (Tehran), Salakastar, TGIS (Beijing), Julia Yezbick, and more. Co-produced with Poetic Societies.

Whatever your dining preferences, seeing Mike Kelley’s house out and about in the world is exciting.  

The tour will make stops at the Detroit Sidewalk Festival for the Arts (Aug 4) and The Dixieland Flee Market (Aug 11 & 12).

All are welcome. Dinners are free. Space is available on a first come, first serve basis.  

We spoke with The Hinterlands Co-Director, Liza Bielby, about the project during a brief phone call containing many distracting background noises (on our end). 

Here are some notes: 

Utopian Dinner 2

A table of abundance at a previous utopian dinner

µTopian Dinner is— 

LB: A laboratory where you can collectively explore what the implications of the way we, in the USA, eat and cook and share meals together.

The concept first emerged in 2017 as a series of dinners at Playhouse Detroit.  

LB: The issues that we have in Detroit—other people have those issues across the world and are dealing with them. People have all different types of strategies for dealing with different forms of oppression and scarcity of resources or trying to deal with governments dealing in various unjust ways. So there’s a lot to be gained by talking to people elsewhere about what’s going on, and thinking about ourselves not just as Americans, but as Americans in the larger sense of the word like Pan Americans, Citizens of the World.

What’s evolved.  

LB: This µtopian dinner is a way to connect in with some of those partners we have abroad to look at this question of how do we break bread with somebody that we’re separated by—ideology or distance, or language. Breaking bread across difference is the theme of this Utopian dinner.

Don’t be nervous.

LB: It’s open to all ages. You can bring as much of yourself or as little of yourself as you want. Basically, the giest of what we’re doing is we’re eating, and everybody knows how to eat. We’re just changing the rules a little bit. To me, if you don’t want to adhere by those rules that we changed, that’s valuable information to yourself as a human. 

We just don’t have a lot of opportunity for odd encounters in our daily lives because you get sucked into the internet or in Detroit, the public transit situation is rough, and so people who have cars will drive. Verses in NY, where people ride the subway—there’s some insane situation every day, every time you ride the subway, you are interacting with someone in a way that you are not necessarily expecting. Or you’re expecting that you’re going to be interacting with someone in strange way. So I think the dinner in a way fulfills that kind of surprise element.  

We’re not going to make you stand up and share your feelings and talk about what you’ve learned. You can just listen, and I think that’s super valuable because what are the opportunities you have to listen to someone that you don’t know? Just to listen to a stranger. There aren’t that many opportunities. Maybe there are, and I’m just missing them. That’s really powerful for both people.

On Mike Kelley. 

LB It’s a model of his home. It’s lovely to be able to take someone’s home on the road and to experience them through that. Something that was, I imagine, conceived with a lot of emotion, something he had to do.

Most importantly. 

LB It’s a playful, fun event where we’re taking something that’s every day and trying to rediscover the mystery about it—and the mystery of each other as humans. It’s very fun, very low key. They’ll be stuff going on all day, for the duration of the events….It’s food and fun. But the fun is the first part. It’s enjoyable and playful and silly and all ages.”  


The Hinterlands are 2018 Kresge Fellows. A fact that brings us deep joy for the City of Detroit & BEYOND.