I recently saw a Norwegian film called Kitchen Stories. Set in the 1950s, it follows Sweden’s Home Research Institute: an organization that studies domestic habits and has had great success in rationalising the kitchen for Swedish Housewives (see diagram). In the film, the Home Research Institute moves to Norway to observe the kitchen routines of single Norwegian men. On call 24 hours a day, the observers live in caravans outside each subject’s house. Observations are made from high custom-made chairs strategically placed in each kitchen with observers allowed to come and go as they please, but under no circumstances must they be spoken to or involve themselves in kitchen activities. Each observer is tasked with mapping every movement the subject makes in his kitchen.
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