The Empire Remains Shop

Purchase Paperback
Purchase at Columbia University Press

“Empire shops” were first developed in London in the 1920s to teach the British to consume foodstuffs from the colonies and overseas territories. Although none of the stores ever opened, they were intended to make previously unfamiliar produce and products—sultanas from Australia, oranges from Palestine, cloves from Zanzibar, and rum from Jamaica—available in the British Isles. The Empire Remains Shop speculates on the possibility and implications of selling back the remains of the British Empire in London today.

Based on a public installation in London in the fall of 2016, the book catalogues and develops the installation’s critical program of discussions, performances, dinners, installations, and screenings hosted at 91–93 Baker Street. The pieces in this book use food to trace new geographies across the present and future of our postcolonial planet. Structured as a franchise agreement, The Empire Remains Shop lays out some of the landscapes, imaginaries, economies, and aesthetics that future iterations of the shop would need to address in order to think through political counterstructures for a better distributed, hyper-globalized world.

The book includes a foreword by Elizabeth A. Povinelli and contributions from Elisabetta Brighi, Filipa César, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Jesse Connuck, Daniel Conway, Annalee Davis, Forager Collective, FRAUD, Ros Gray, Raphaël Grisey, Nitasha Kaul, Harry Keene, Laleh Khalili, Richie Maitland, Asunción Molinos, Shela Sheikh, Shahmen Suku/Radha La Bia, Bouba Touré, and Nicole Wolf.