Nocturnal Creatures: Inês Neto dos Santos

Beans (a love letter)

  • Inês Neto dos Santos - Walk&Talk 2019 - photo by Sara Pinheiro (1)

    Inês Neto dos Santos, Placing what surrounds us into the inside of us, performative meal at Expedition Empathy, Walk & Talk Azores, 2019. Photo: Sara Pinheiro.

Past Event

This event was on Sat 17 Jul 2021, 6pm–11pm

Access Information

Food growing network, bean bar and food offer

6-11pm and online

Whitechapel Gallery 
Creative Studio, Townsend Restaurant and online 

Beans take over the Whitechapel Gallery, in many guises: growing in planters, shared amongst friends, and served as a snack and a three-course meal at Townsend Restaurant. All these form part of artist Inês Neto dos Santos’s project Beans (a love letter). Drawing inspiration from beans’ regenerative and resilient nature, this work explores how food growing and sharing can be a metaphor for living in greater connection with our surroundings and others.

Inês Neto dos Santos collaborates with plant, microbial and human friends to expand our understanding of our enmeshed, multi-species existence. Inviting local participants to plant beans over the summer as part of a bean-growing network, Neto dos Santos encourages us to think about the plant’s life cycle, its regenerative properties and how food can connect people. Beans are nutrient-rich crops, they are easy and cheap to grow and are a staple in many cuisines around the world. Thriving in harsh conditions and below ground, bean plants work in a symbiotic relationship with bacteria to help fix nitrogen in the soil, which is needed for other plants to grow.    

Relax with a drink and a snack in the bean bar with views over East London rooftops where you can experience an installation of bean plants and documentation of the bean network, and pick up a free bean seed pack. 

Book here for a special three-course meal at Townsend Restaurant.

In collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery staff, Hodmedod’s, Toynbee Hall estate and Flower & Dean estate residents, a bean network has been growing, documented on Instagram @lovelettertobeans. Some beans will be saved as seed for next year or fermented and made into a collaborative miso, continuing the cycle and widening the project.  

Work information

Inês Neto dos Santos 
Beans (a love letter) (2021) 
Food growing network in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery staff, Toynbee Hall estate, Flower & Dean estate residents, documented on Instagram @lovelettertobeans and in the Whitechapel Gallery Bean Bar (Creative Studio) 

Food and three course-meal offer in collaboration with Townsend Restaurant. 

About Inês Neto dos Santos 

Inês Neto dos Santos (b. 1992, Lisbon) graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2016, and the London College of Communication in 2013. She works in performance, installation and social sculpture, investigating the socio-political implications of food and our relationship to it. She creates frameworks through which to explore collaboration, care and togetherness, and has delved into the practical and metaphorical dimensions of fermentation, investigating it as a gateway into our enmeshed, multi-species existence. 

Selected exhibitions: Porto Design Biennale (2019), Block Universe (2020); Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop (2020); Walk &Talk Azores (2019); Open Space (2018, 2019) and Design Museum London (2018, 2019). She has been a guest lecturer at Kingston University and Westminster University. Since March 2021, she co-leads the online course Food Cosmogonies with artist Nora Silva at the Institute for Postnatural Studies in Madrid.