Visualizing the meals in Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84

Gilstad uses a single line to divide and connect the different elements of the meal – the ingredients, where they are stored in the kitchen, and in what order and how they are prepared

all images courtesy Dennis Gilstad | click to enlarge

A Spoon & Tamago exclusive

Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s latest novel is epic in every sense: the ambitious meta-tale of stories within stories clocks in at just under 1000 pages and was published in 3 volumes. Speaking about 1Q84, Murakami himself said, “I had a kind of premonition it’s going to be a big book. It’s going to be very ambitious.”

Like his other books, 1Q84 is chock-full of obscure references that make you wish it came with its own musical soundtrack, literary appendix and history lesson. The story, like much of Japanese culture, is also heavily garnished with meals; we learn what Aomame eats to prevent constipation, as well as what Ushikawa fixes himself while on a stakeout.

Dennis Gilstad, an art student at Cooper Union, has created an equally epic and stunning infographic for his graduation show that charts and visualizes all the meals that occur throughout Murakami’s latest opus. Dennis tells me that he was actually influenced by Japanese architecture firm SANAA (previously) and their programmatic approach to using the line to define spatial relationships. Indeed, Gilstad uses a single line to divide and connect the different elements of the meal – the ingredients, where they are stored in the kitchen, and in what order and how they are prepared.

If you’re in New York, you can still catch Dennis’ show, “Real Good Box,” which is on display in the gallery in Cooper’s new building, through May 9, 2012.







(thanks for the tip, @perke)

2 Comments

  1. Very interesting.
    While in university, I wrote a 6 page article on “The role of food in Murakami’s fiction”, using six of his novels. Although I got a good grade for it, my professor wrote on the cover: “Different”.

  2. Fascinating and perceptive. Thanks for sharing.

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