Art Trails: BCS as an Archaeological Site III

Art Trails

"Melting Pot"

My Cup is a space located at the center of the BCS grounds. It is the busiest gathering point on site, home to shared foods and cooking.

Every artist visiting BCS is invited to leave a personal cup at My Cup as a gesture for homey comfort. Not only does the space resemble a family dining room for satisfying meals over tea, it serves also as a site for exhibitions. The inscribed pots and pans on the wall are documentations of Filipino artists Marika CONSTANTINO and Anjo BOLARDA’s 2015 project, The Melting Pot, in Taipei.

Marika and Anjo are artists from the Filipino collective, 98B COLLABoratory. Borrowing the idea of the melting pot in a society, the pair invited guests to dine together and talk about art during their 45-day residency period. Collective dining became a method for cultural exchange, documented by videos and images.

The two artists hosted a dinner party on their last day at BCS, asking the friends, project assistants, partners, and neighbors they had met during their time in Taiwan to bring ingredients that would become the content of the meal. As chiefs, Marika and Anjo whipped up dish after dish of strange and fantastic foods from the collected ingredients. Dinner guests were then instructed to draw and write down the story behind each of their contributed ingredients, and later asked to provide a list of the foods that they would never eat. Stories and preferences about foods became entry points to understand one’s upbringing, lifestyle, and characters. The process of sharing these stories drew everyone nearer.

Eating and naming each dish was the highlight of the evening. Marika and Anjo, with their foodie sensibilities and a little help from few simple spices, improvised a total of five dishes and one soup: kiesh with salted egg, bamboo shoot, and yam leave stuffing, steamed tofu and clams, noodles with gourds, apples, and fish balls, fig and mango chicken, daikon stew with ketchup and mushrooms, longevity soup with mushroom stems, bamboo shoots, and yam leaves, and finally, sweet, baked mango seeds.

The Melting Pot Project considered food and cooking as the raw material for human connections. The exchange of ideas and life experiences around the dining table activated the participants’ relationships with each other. This sharing process underlined the authenticity of human innovation, and may inspire beauty in everyday spirituality.

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