Edible art? Art and dough combine in unique project
Artist Omer Pollak breaks the mold with his surreal 'Blow Dough' project.
Omer Polak is an industrial design engineer by trade, but he's really many things, including an artist at heart.
"I am a big believer in multi-disciplinary activity, no division between art and design," he told From The Grapevine. "I come with a rich background in art into the design world and try to combine them as much as I can. But I'm also a researcher, an anthropologist, and a storyteller. The definition is not so important."
It is that combination of disciplines that leads the Jerusalem-based designer to take on exciting projects that are equal parts art and design. In the case of "Blow Dough," a project he collaborated on with fellow designer Michal Evyatar and renowned chef Erez Komorovsky, Polak wanted to see if he could create art that wasn't just beautiful, but edible, as well.
The project, created for Jerusalem Design Week, entailed a room full of "cooks" blowing up balls of different colored dough using industrial heat blowers with a peak temperature of 1,110 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough balls were then given to visitors who came through the installation as a delicious gift to thank them for touring the exhibit.
Polak and his collaborators were inspired by the street food in Jerusalem. "One of the most popular and common ingredients in the Jerusalemite food arena is bread: pita bread, bagels, buns, and more," he said. "We chose to use the very basic materials of flour and water, and combine it with the designer’s territory of the production process."
He is a fan of combining art and industrial design, as seen by projects like S Sense, which studies the sense of smell through well-designed tools based on neuroscience studies.
"I think that creativity and artistic thinking are the basis of good ndustrial design," he said. "Even when the designer came up with a cup or teapot shape it needed a lot of creativity to innovate and create a better product."
There were many hurdles to overcome in the project, from finding the right blowers to creating the "cooktops" for the dough. Finding the right dough was actually the biggest hurdle. "It was a great challenge to succeed in creating dough that is very flexible, thin and also tasty," he said. To add dimension to what could have been plain dough balls, herbs were added and various vegetable juices were used instead of water to give the dough balls color and "a delicate flavor."
The designers met with Polak, Evytar and Komorovsky before the exhibit was opened to the public to practice working with the dough and the blowers, but it was a fairly straightforward procedure to master, said Polak, so much so that he's considering taking the project on the road.
"I am currently working on the further development of blow dough project and hopefully soon I will be able to tell you the dates for shows in Europe," he said. He's also working on other projects, he said, for one reason and one reason only: "Curiosity."
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