Mr. Kouri received the Support for Artists and Creative Individuals 2018-2019 grant sponsored by the Houston Arts Alliance. His project focuses on the immense diversity of Houston’s residents and its ongoing culinary renaissance. Mr. Kouri is filming 24+ Houstonians of starkly different ages and backgrounds eating three-course meals, uninterrupted, at a formal table settings in complete isolation.
Mr. Kouri will simultaneously cast the recordings on large monitors, arranged to insinuate people congregating around a communal table - ultimately forming a virtual “dinner party.” The recordings will cycle around the room to randomly juxtapose the participants to highlight their physical and behavioral differences, while inviting the spectator to recognize themselves among the various narratives.
“Since Houston is one of the most diverse cities on the planet, I want to put that on display and ultimately bring Houstonians closer through food,” says Mr. Kouri.
This project also questions the short-term visual effects of human loneliness and isolation, and how those elements manifest during a fundamental human experience. This is designed to either heighten or dampen the participants’ mannerisms, while allowing the viewer to voyeuristically examining not only the filmed Houstonians’ social dining constructs, but to confront their own personal relationships with food and isolation.
Mr. Kouri’s participants provide a small glimpse into the wide range of ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, genders and ages of who those call Houston home. They dine before Mr. Kouri’s camera in his Summer Street Studio where they encounter an array of ethnic cuisines and various utensils from a collection of Houston’s well-known restaurants, including Aladdin’s, Local Pho and The Pit Room.
This project is funded in part by the City of Houston and Houston Arts Alliance.