Christy Chan

The urge to connect is complicated.  The urge to connect is non-linear.

The Everybody Eats Lunch project paired 32 East Bay residents together for a one-on-one meal and conversation, with lunches donated by local restaurants.  In a time when everyday conversations can feel difficult, this project brought closely proximated neighbors together based on an intentionally simple algorithm: food.

If you requested Macaroni for lunch, for example, you got paired with someone else who also said Macaroni.

For the exhibition, the walls were covered with 220 posters, each representing a statement said by one of the 32 lunch participants. The posters read from left to right, representing the general timeline of the lunches. For example, the first twenty posters represent various “hello’s.”  The middle 70 posters represent the middle portions of conversations, as strangers chose to go deeper or not. The last part of the wall represent the various ways people said their goodbyes.

 The overall effect is a mix tape of both missed and made connections.

This analog experiment was held un-ironically in the Bay Area, the birthplace of social media and digital conversations.  Prior to taking place in the San Pablo corridor, the project took place at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska. For information on both programs, visit

Want to try the project for yourself?  Enter the installation space and take a seat to activate an encounter. 

Christy Chan is an interdisciplinary artist in Oakland working in video, installation, performance and oral storytelling. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Kala Art Institute, Southern Exposure, Root Division, SOMArts, the Los Angeles Film Festival, Ortega y Gasset Projects and in storytelling venues such as NPR.  She has been awarded residencies and support from Montalvo Art Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Real Time and Space, The Wassaic Project, and others. Chan holds an M.A. in Communication Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Related Events

Monday, June 24 | 7 PM

Christy Chan– Panel Discussion: Hello Stranger at Kala Gallery

Kelsie Kerr, Chef-Owner, Standard Fare
Amir Razavi, Owner, Middle East Market
Roshni Kavate, Lunch Participant
Christy Chan, Creator, Everybody Eats Lunch

Panel Moderator: Kate Rhoades, Artist & Host of the Podcast Congratulations Pine Tree