Dispatches

Zero Degree Dining

Mandelbrot

The Kathmandu Café in multiple dimensions.

Photographs are the pure expression of perspective, which is the technique of mapping three dimensions onto two. Drama in a photograph results from the optical relations of near to far defined from a single point in space. (You can see the perspective effect by looking at the world with one eye open.) Superimposing several perspectives in near alignment can render space in apparently more than three dimensions, as in this photograph of the Kathmandu Café in Vancouver. Walls, floor and ceiling are thrown open in projection, peeled away from their normal alignment, to create a kind of map, or chart, of the domain of the first proprietor of the Kathmandu Café, Abi Sharma, who stands here adjacent to rather than enclosed by the surfaces of his world.

The Kathmandu Café, a favourite dinner and meeting place for Geist friends and staff since it opened in 2005 under the proprietorship of Abi Sharma and then Pradeep Sharma (no relation), closed its doors on the first of March, 2016, for reasons of family. It was unique among restaurants in offering a kind of Degree Zero in dining (to steal a term from Roland Barthes): a handsome space devoid of embellishment, a menu devoid of ostentation, service devoid of performance, an atmosphere of plain comfort devoid of polemic. These are elements that combined to make the Kathmandu strange in the full and exciting meaning of that word. We are told to watch for a new Kathmandu Café a year from now. Perhaps this image can serve as a map of what has been and what might be yet to come.

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