On Poetic Transaction: Mukbang with Patrick Cruz

Publication: Imagining new systems of exchange On Poetic Transaction: Mukbang with Patrick Cruz


October 2020 - February 2022

Patrick and I spoke about his project KITCHEN CODEX one evening in September. Before meeting, we exchanged recipes for each to prepare and eat while we spoke. Patrick made my recipe for chickpea, rice and collard green soup and I made his recipe for Pritong Lumpiang Gulay (Fried Vegetable Spring Roll).

A Mukbang is an online 'eating show' where a host eats in front of a camera for an audience. Patrick and I did our own variation, essentially, a dinner party for two (across distance).

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Christina Battle (CB): Maybe, yeah, do you want to just like eat and chat at the same time?

Patrick Cruz (PC): Yeah, totally, I'm gonna go at it.

CB: Um, I can't remember if I actually told you at all about what this is for? I'm thinking about the idea of exchange, somewhat abstractly, I think. It kind of started by wanting to think about economics and how it is that capitalism works, how it is that we think about exchanging goods or items or services.

PC: Right.

CB: And how that could be maybe better and less exploitative, and extractive.

PC: Right.

CB: And so I did a bunch of research, like looking at economics and formal systems and different systems that exist. But, I really just wanted to talk to artists who engage with exchange as part of their practice to find out more, and then also, because I think within that are really interesting strategies for dealing with exchange with others, especially with strangers too, and just kind of wanting to hear what that's like for you and how you think about it.

PC: I mean, I don't know, I feel like also the problem with art, maybe, is that these conditions can almost only exist in these sorts of frameworks. And once money is in the transaction it's sort of, becomes this thing where value is sort of judged. And yeah, it's so weird. I'm thinking of like in-kind labour versus transactional labour. And in art, we do so much in-kind labour. Maybe too much.

CB: Often invisible, quite invisible.

PC: Yeah. Invisible labour. And I don't know, I'm sure there's something to be gained also from capitalist frameworks. I mean, it makes sense why it's proliferated, and it's lived itself. But yeah, I feel like both ends have something to kind of work from.

CB: Do you think that has something to do with, like, when you were talking about in-kind labour I was thinking about, often that is quite invisible. And maybe what makes capitalism at least on the surface, I think capitalism has a lot of parts to it that are not visible to most people.

PC: Right.

CB: But like, it's clear, the transactions are clear, you know, to what's expected. You know, what to give, you know what you're going to get.

PC: Right.

CB: And are those a part of the conditions you mean? Like, within an artistic sense, those conditions aren't necessarily as clear or…

PC: Fixed.

CB: Yeah, fixed.

PC: Yeah, maybe it's that it's more unstable. And I think, like, for example, with KITCHEN CODEX, there were moments when, you know, I asked specifically for a recipe. And some people sort of refuse to participate sometimes, they just want the food. And, you know, for me, it's not like I'll be a kind of a fascist artist, and be like: no, you can't have the food if you don't write a recipe, and of course, take your time, you know, but then at the end of the day, like they forget and they get drunk and leave without any sort of exchange. And I'm like, then what is that? Right? And so, I feel like exchange can almost only exist in this kind of framework where there's room for things like that.

CB: What do you usually do when that happens, or do you I mean, like you said, you don't kind of force people, but do you think about the exchange differently when that happens? Because part of how I come to this is thinking about the seed project that I do where I trade seeds with people, and often strangers now more than not, and the same thing happens where sometimes people don't follow through, like, I'll send them a bunch of stuff and they never send me anything in exchange.

PC: Right.

CB: So, then I think okay, well that was just a gift on my part. That helps me, I don't know maybe it's selfish, it helps me feel better somehow.

PC: Right.

CB: But yeah, what happens when someone doesn't negotiate in the way that you've set the conditions to be.

PC: For me, I mean, I'm also not so much of a control freak. So, it's not such a big deal in my practice if the thing sort of deviates from the structure. I just see it as part of the system. Obviously, if it's more than often then there's something wrong. Maybe there's no willingness from the community, right? And maybe that's my flaw for not investigating enough whether the community is even willing or welcomed in doing the activity. But I find that with food, it's easy. It's easy to have trust, maybe because it's such a basic need that they’re sort of less suspicious.

CB: I mean, it also seems like, in terms of labour, it's very clearly a labour of love, or like coming from good intentions, offering someone food in a basic way. So maybe that already sets up the understanding from the beginning. It's hard for me to imagine: has anyone ever been suspicious of you offering them free food?

PC: I hope not!

CB: What about even before that, like before you have an audience, or I don't know how you refer to people who are engaging in these performances, but before people are exchanging recipes and food is exchanged. What's it like negotiating within an artistic sense, like with galleries or organizations, how does that go?

PC: I feel like for them, they're really receptive and open to it. Because I think, again, it's kind of like providing a service. And, you know, I feel like the relationship with food and with opening receptions is always like, you know, they're kind of judged by the public what they serve and like, were the dingy were their drinks, or, were they dingy with the food that they were serving? So, I feel like when an artist tries to activate something with food, it's sort of almost a blessing for the gallery. And I don't know, I think so far, it's all been very supportive. I havn't had any kind of weird, yeah, nothing really negative.

CB: What about in other communities or regions? Like, because you've traveled with this particular project, Kitchen Codex, quite a bit.

PC: Yeah. And I think they have also varied in sizes and communities. So yeah, I feel like that's why I think I had a hard time to standardize the sort of format. I was thinking the other day: oh, I wish I had collected all their names, so that I had a directory of everyone. But then I was like, am I just mining data? Like, am I just making an address book of sorts you know, and I felt like, that wasn't really the point. It was more so traces of knowledge rather than specific data of like, oh, this person is in this place, you know.

CB: It's not necessarily though that, engaging with food or offering food is better understood in one region over another or one community over another, it's been kind of equal?

PC: I would say the enthusiasm is the same. You know, like, oh, there's food! I feel like artists, or people in the arts are always into that kind of stuff.

CB: It’s really true. Like, even thinking about how different places I've lived, galleries have had different understandings of what should be expected when it comes to drinks and food at openings. And the ones that have nothing, I'm always kind of like, what is going here? How are we meant to feel comfortable if there's no food and no free drinks?

PC: Yeah, it's funny because coming from the Philippines, the openings there, it's so crazy that it's always a feast. And it's always free, so people come to your opening expecting there's a banquet of food, or at least like free drinks. So, moving to Canada was sort of a shock. There's no food and you have to pay for your booze.

CB: And it really sets up so the audience is only going to be a certain kind of person more likely, right? Like, you might not necessarily have someone who wouldn't typically go into an artistic space, show up in Canada as you would in other places.

PC: Totally.

CB: Or even just wandering around the street and saying, oh, there's food in there, let's check it out!

PC: Not, there's art over there!

CB: Exactly! What about with the recipe exchanges? Because also thinking about this one that just occurred with the mystery junk food kits here. I'm imagining often, and, I don't know how to say, like, in the real world, or outside of whatever the circumstances are that we're in right now. The exchanges of recipes happen, in real life directly with someone who's standing in front of you or something.

PC: Right.

CB: Do you think about that exchange differently? Or is there a way of thinking about exchange differently when it's in the moment?

PC: Yeah, totally. I mean, now yeah for sure, there's so many nuances that are lost. Because in real life, you get all the backdrop of the recipe: the history of it, whether it's like, some sort of family secret, or something they came up with on the spot. And, some people are shy, because some people don't cook. So, they're like, you know, this is like butter on toast. It's sort of like that interaction, you definitely don't get with this sort of online framework, right? Where it's more like online banking: you're not talking to the teller anymore, you’re just on your own - self checkout.

CB: And I mean, even that idea of storytelling and sharing. It does seem like some of the recipes that were exchanged online. With this recent iteration. People did sort of introduce it, like, this recipe belonged to, but I can imagine the desire that people have to, like, really talk with you about that, because clearly, you're setting up this scenario where it's obvious that you care about such things. Like, you're invested in thinking about food, so, I can just imagine the conversations being really rich.

PC: Totally, and sending them junk food is sort of, is a funny gesture too.

CB: Yeah! The mystery kit maybe works precisely because it's a mystery and it came through the mail, too, right? Like, there's some kind of element of surprise and excitement that's tied in with it, which I think is probably similar, even though a different register, with someone coming to a gallery and discovering that you're wanting to exchange in this way. That's the surprise and the unexpected.

PC: Right.

CB: Although, maybe you typically do sort of prep people to come to the gallery in anticipation of sharing your recipe?

PC: I feel like some people are aware, but I feel like half the time people just tag along with their friends. And in the gallery are like: oh, I have to write a recipe. But yeah, some people come so prepared with like, a full-on illustration of the dish.

CB: I love it.

PC: Yeah.

CB: What about participation? Because you started by talking about, you know, like if someone comes to the gallery and they just don't want to participate. And then knowing also that your practice has other projects that operate similarly, but not exactly like Kitchen Codex. How do you think about, or how did you come to wanting to participate with people as a part of practice?

PC: Yeah, this is sort of a funny story, because I had just started the Master's program in Guelph and the collective Post Commodity was doing a residency at the Black Heritage Church in Guelph. And they made a call out for like: local artists who wanted to participate in their programming. And I was new to Guelph and I was like, what? There’s a POC community here? That’s kind of weird, I mean, let alone even a Black community! I haven’t seen anybody. It was mostly like a white community. So, I sent a proposal and the first thing I could think of was, you know, people like food, maybe I'll, you know, cook something and get some recipes because I wanted to get a sense of like, actually Kitchen Codex came out of the idea of making a portrait of the community based on what sort of food is being cooked around. So that was the idea. And we did the first event there. And Post Commodity was sort of the facilitator. And yeah, it was great, I met so many people that I would have never met otherwise, that came out and started sharing stories. Yeah, and I mean, it was also pre-COVID, so it was so much easier for them to just kind of come and go. And, yeah, that's when I realized, this could be an ongoing thing because it was so generative.

CB: Did you sort of once you were in Guelph, repeat that project or repeat those circumstances?

PC: I sort of repeated it, not necessarily as an artwork anymore, but sort of just as a communal practice. Because I was staying at a shared studio with seven other classmates and we would always just go to the food bank and make a feast with our double hotplate burner, we’d deep fry stuff, and make stews. It was sort of like this campfire, that sort of bonded us for two years. I mean, I would have probably done that, even without the Kitchen Codex project, but it sort of made me realize how powerful it is to have this sort of ritual ofgathering and eating together.

CB: Do you really differentiate at all between, when cooking food for others is an art work and when it is life?

PC: I mean, I try not to because obviously, performance art, I feel like, has all those trappings of performativity and theatricality. But I find that when I have done Kitchen Codex in many different contexts, I sort of forget that it’s a performance because, yeah, I just feel like I'm just hosting a dinner for a lot of people. No, I haven't really felt like it's too “performance arty” you know? (laughs) Maybe if I wasn't talking, just being like, stoic (laughs).

CB: (laughs) And that was the performance! Do you feel like COVID has shifted the way you think about this project in the future? Or can you imagine, like returning back to cooking for a large number of people?

PC: I feel like it would sort of be just more of an intimate project. I feel like things just have to scale down, basically. I think I could still do it in a safe number of people, and less, sort of, open to the public. I mean, dinner parties are always sort of by invite only anyway.

CB: Totally.

PC: But yeah, I mean, I think it would shift. I mean, it’s sort of a nice kind of artistic gesture to shift gears to do that. Yeah, I think it'll just be more intimate. Because even with the Triennial that I'm helping organize. We're sort of trying to think you know, how we can gather and still have exchanges from artists across the globe? How can we do that in a safer framework and maybe it just has to be more intimate maybe, in a smaller setting.

CB: Yeah, I mean, that also makes me wonder, I mean nothing against publics. But maybe that is how things should be anyway, you know, thinking about intimate gatherings like, I don't know, even just in terms of my own comfort levels that is always more rewarding to me, I think. A small dinner party or something where you can have conversations. It's interesting that that's the kind of like, reset.

PC: I just feel like in 2019 we were all about bigger, better, more, you know. It just like, burnt out everyone.

CB: Yeah. And I think in a way, if COVID hadn't happened, I think 2019 would have still burnt out everyone, right? We we're headed that way.

PC: But we will pretend that we're not.

CB: Exactly.

PC:  People will just keep smiling and pushing through, you know.

CB: Sending emails.

PC: Totally.

CB: And what about the triennial? Well, you had one in 2020, right? So, is it in 2023? Is that?

PC: Yeah, 2023 is the next one. So, I mean, with the uncertain future, we'll see what kind of structures will happen. But for now, we're working on a book because that's sort of the more tangible framework we can work with.

CB: What's it like to sort of even, you know, aside from like, crisis and pandemic, what's it like to work on the timeline of three years collectively?

PC: I like it. Yeah, I think that's my pace. I mean, it started as a joke, because I went to grad school for two years and I was like, oh, when can I come back to do this project? So that's how the triennial sort of formed. But in retrospect, I think I like the pace because if it was a biennial, you'd be working every other year, right?

CB: Yeah.

PC: At least with a triennial you get the year off where you can just absorb things and take your time to process.

CB: It seems like a really caring timeline for artists as well, time to plan and because often, you know, I don't know, creativity takes time, right? It takes any break.

PC: Totally. Yeah. I guess again, with this kind of capitalist framework, we're sort of pushed to being productive constantly.

CB: It gets me back thinking about food, because, you know, even as I was preparing to make this, because I've never made it before, too, right? So, I was thinking like, okay, how long do I think this is going to take to make? What time should I start? So, it's like production mode, like planning, problem solving, you know, getting all my ingredients out and ready, following this procedure. But really, the thing about food and cooking is there is a production phase, but then it really is about like the enjoyment part or the eating it and sitting around the table and eating food with others, or yourself.

PC: Right.

CB: But somehow, how do we map that sort of production in the sense that it leads to something delicious, but it doesn't have to like break you?

PC:  Yeah, totally. I mean, I guess this is also that question of: what is enough? You know, because I feel like we're always trying to fill this void of not working or maybe not doing enough. So yeah, I think that's really key, not burning out. Yeah, and I think a lot of artists that burnout is probably because they don't enjoy the process anymore.

CB: Yeah.

PC: Any process of the entire, you know, procedure of making or participating in the community. Because it does get exhausting, right? It's sort of repetitive.

CB: Yeah, I mean, I do think a lot about artists who just sort of disappear, right? Like, I mean, I think, I've moved around a lot, so community sort of, takes off on its own and I'm not there anymore. And so, I'm left out, I think, in a lot of ways of knowing what's going on. But in communities that I've been a part of for longer periods of time, I do think a lot about those who have just sort of disappeared and like burned out, or can't afford to keep up that lifestyle, or making work or whatever it is. And just what we lose as a community from not having those voices present anymore.

PC: Yeah. I can’t blame them (laughs).

CB: I Know (laughs).

PC: Good for them.

CB: I know! They're probably like, they have stable jobs, and retirement pensions. That's really true. But I mean, I think because it's like, the enjoyment factor is what is often I think so easily missing, working in the arts professionally. But this is why, again thinking about, you know, well, for me, I think it's also about conversation. You know, technically this publication is part of a research fellowship, and to me, it felt like: oh, well, I just want to talk to people, that's where I get enjoyment, you know, more than just reading books, or theorizing about stuff. And, how we can kind of remind ourselves that that's the part of artwork that's enjoyable, whether it be conversation, or cooking, or whatever. So that it doesn't lead to just like, bitterness and angst (laughs).

PC: Yeah, and I guess it's also, you know, I mean, we're also humans, so it's bound to be part of it, as messy as it is. But for me, it's sort of like, I like the idea that every framework is different and the process is never the same, so there's no monotony in terms of, like, what we're doing right now: it’s something I would not imagine if I wasn't collaborating with you. So, I think that's the exciting thing for me is that there’s this variety of experience that is generated. And you don't get that from an office job (laughs).

CB: That’s for sure. And that experimentation or like failure, I mean this, it worked I think, but it could have totally failed. But I feel like that in itself would have also been like, funny and exciting and whatever. And maybe that has to do with, not that the stakes are low, because I think, you know, our time is important and it would suck if like, this didn't work and then I had to ask you to do it all over again, or something. But there's something about the framework of working artistically that just says like, yeah, whatever, we'll see what happens and try it and maybe that one question about, what lessons could be incorporated into, thinking about other forms of exchange and broader society? Maybe that is one thing?

PC: Yeah, totally. I think it's sort of like thinking about how poetry can be material for transaction. You know, like, poetic transactions, and people are always kind of baffled why we do things like these, you know, it's like, a waste of time, or I don't know, it's pointless. But I think these poetic transactions really allow us to cook things slower, right? And, yeah, maybe it goes back to this idea of gardening, you know, letting things grow at its own pace. Then it's not this instant thing to have consistent products.

CB: Yeah. And maybe it gets people thinking about other exchanges and other forms of their life too, right? Like, you know, with the mystery junk food kits. You know, you offer that in exchange for a recipe and maybe that gets people thinking about like, okay when they next need to, I don't know, like buy something. Maybe they’ll just Instead ask someone: Hey, do you have a thing, I'll trade you something for it or exchange something for it. Because it in a way, because you're controlling the structure and the parameters you make it appear to be quite easy to do these things. Which, I think it's true that in a daily life, you know, thinking about exchange like this, it is quite easy, right? We could easily like, not give $10 for that bag of candy to someone, we could just like, trade them something for it. But, it's because you're controlling the circumstances and the conditions that get people opened up to think that it could be possible. And maybe that's something that sort of radiates outward after, or you know, maybe I'm being like naive and optimistic. But I like thinking about it, at least.

PC: I think at least, I think when money is not in the equation it definitely sort of reconfigures something relationally. I think, an event where there's no money, where you can just trade goods and trade services is sort of, kind of rare. Everyone just wants the cash or the etransfer.

CB: Yeah, but I think that's because it's also simple, and everyone can understand it, right? Like, if you say to someone: hey, it's $1, they know what that means. But if you say to someone, let's barter or trade for it, it's like, no one knows what the expectations are.

PC: Yeah, right, the instability.

CB: I hope that it is something that doesn't get lost, when galleries do eventually kind of come back from these last two years of being closed. You know, like, I suspect that and, you know, probably rightfully so there's maybe concern over what it would mean to have an event that feeds a massive public, but at the same time, I feel like it's one of those things that we kind of need more than ever. And especially as we come back from being so isolated to coming back collectively, it'd be amazing if those first moments could be truly collective in ways that are actually like, going to lead to something better somehow.

PC: Yeah. I feel like a lot of those kind of communal fridges are popping up.

CB: Right.

PC: Communal pantries. Yeah, it's kind of amazing when people open up like that. It's funny, because in the Philippines, I heard that it was sort of red tagged as a kind of a communist thing. And they were shutting down the pantries. Yeah, they're like, I guess the government was feeling insecure that they couldn't provide enough. And that people were starting to share food and it’s sort of weird that they started to criminalize this sharing. But it also just shows how powerful it is.

CB: Yeah, when people realize they can do stuff for themselves, you see that a lot, too, after major natural disasters. And disaster capitalism kicks in. The first thing people often do is share what they have, they share food, cook for one another, because others might not have time to do it. And then often, those are the first things that become policed too, for sure, like food standards, or oh, it's not hygienic, or whatever and it gets shut down. People want to be doing this kind of thing, right? People want to make food and share it with their neighbours, or, you know, if you're really good at making empanadas, you want to be able to offer them as like a side, maybe it's because you don't make enough money in your day job, but being able to sort of think about food and sharing in ways that go beyond what we typically think of as being okay.

PC: Yeah. And I feel like sometimes people also get judged, you know, with what they consume. Like I remember in Toronto, Parkdale being renamed as “vegandale.”

CB: Oh, yeah. Weird.

PC:  All these like yuppies were like opening up vegan restaurants amidst these poor communities.

CB: And it was all branding, right?

PC:  Yeah.

CB: I wonder if, because I lived in Toronto for a while but not during that time, I wonder if it's still like that, or?

PC: Yeah, I wonder.

CB: I feel like there was a community push back against it that I heard about at least. Yeah, that sounds like a part of gentrification, really.

PC: Totally. I mean, it’s the same here in Vancouver, there’s a lot of this. Especially with using art as a sort of tool to gentrify: art washing.

CB: Right, yeah, yeah. Do you sort of feel like there are, I don't know, how do you make sure that you don't fall into that, in terms of being invited to do something? Do you have lessons for the rest of us?

PC: (laughs) I think I’m already in. I mean, I'm working on a public art project for a condo in the suburbs.

CB: Oh, wow. Yeah.

PC: That, yeah, I think that sort of put me in that frame of mind of like, well, is this ethical at all, to be pursuing this project? You know, I'm sort of beautifying this building that I can't even live in. But in terms of trying to find some agency through the work, I realized I could at least codify the work to sort of redeem a kind of message that, at least, I think is still critical, and is still able to remind of what it is about. And that it's not just about beautification at all. I don't know, I just feel like, it’s almost impossible to really get out of the whale, you know? It sort of, yeah, it was tricky. I mean, I almost felt like it was not black or white in that sense of, oh, I don't participate therefore my hands are clean, but taking money from the crown: it's Blood Money. And I don't know, I think you just make the best out of it.

CB: That would be a really great. I don't know, that's a really, you're the first person I've heard actually speak about it in that way, which is so clear and obvious, but often, kept quite invisible among artists as well, right? Few people want to kind of admit that part of it.

PC: Yeah, it's sort of like a neutral thing. Like, oh, I got grants, you know? Like, no it’s actually someone else’s pain or suffering one way or the other.

CB: Maybe if they referred to them as like, blood money grants, people would.

PC: (laughs).

CB: (laughs). How’s that blood money going? Yeah, no, it's really true. I mean, I think it's a really refreshing perspective too of you know, not ignoring the reality of how problematic these systems and structures are. Being aware of it, talking about it, and then trying to work within that in a way that, you know, maybe frames it differently too.

PC: Yeah, because I think if you're going to fully take it as black or white then I would just rather not participate completely, because there's no way of, you know, defeating it in that in that logic. Right? Like, then just don't, I don't know, I'd rather just be a carpenter and make money. And you know, I have a lot of friends who actually did that, because they didn't believe in the system, and they didn't think they could play with it. They don't want to be the cog in the wheel anymore. Which is fair.

CB: Yeah. Well, I sort of am assuming too that in some ways, and maybe not directly, but this is where the triennial comes in, a way of taking on that role of curating and organizing.

PC: Yeah.

CB: There's a collective of you, right, so collectively is another solution to be like, okay this system maybe isn't working how we want it, let's just do it ourselves differently.

PC: Yeah, totally. And make the invitations ourselves.

CB: Yeah. Is there anything else that you feel like we haven't talked about that you would like to?

PC: Yeah, I mean, I sort of wish that we had a system where we could invest in an artist, you know, like, collectively we could buy a stock in this artist or just support them. You know, that could be cool. A sort of peer-to-peer support.

CB: Yeah, it’s really true: more of that. And maybe the peer-to-peer part is actually really important - that it’s other artists doing it.

PC: Yeah. Totally. Yeah. I mean, we know though, artist run spaces are not run by artists so (laughs). Artists are running away.

CB: Ohh, yeah. That’s really true (laughs). I’ve never thought about it that way. Yeah. Maybe that’s where it really needs to be rethought. And you know, artist run centres were started by artists in response, and that was what they came up with as a solution. So many now we just need to, as artists, rethink how to respond. And that peer-to-peer idea, I think, has something within it. Just supporting artists for the sake of supporting them. As opposed to, like, requiring a budget and a timeline and outcome or output.

PC: Yeah, I think there’s something more than an excel sheet that we need to undo, or think about. And maybe that could reframe the relationship, and it’s not just numbers. And I think, yeah, we do think about these things, we experience a lot of these things, we just don’t pay too much attention to it. I feel like it’s a system that works so I never feel like, oh, I need to question this framework of writing grants or support in the arts.

CB: Yeah, because as much as it is blood money, it is also amazing to have the resource of having funding. I don’t know that this is true, but I’m pretty sure that Canada is one of the very few places around the world that offers support for artists in this way so, there’s something too it, that’s lucky for sure (laughs).

PC: (laughs) I mean, making soup and making spring rolls, right, in the middle of a pandemic! That’s sort of how we roll here.

CB: Yeah, that’s true. They were delicious spring rolls, thank you so much for sharing that recipe. I made a lot more actually, I’m not gonna lie. And I’m gonna make some more tomorrow for my mom and dad I think.

PC: Yeah, I think it’s the perfect appetizer too for a big group too.

CB: Yeah, so good, and surprisingly easy from what I think I thought would be involved. Yeah, really fun to make.

PC: Yeah, and you can substitute it with meat or,

CB: Yeah, really good.

PC:  And thank you for the soup too, it was really good.

CB: Oh good.

PC:  I like soups so I’m excited to cook the other recipe as well.

CB: I don’t know why I’m into soup so much the last couple of weeks, it’s cooled down, I guess. But it also feeds so many people, and it’s easy in the sense that you just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and have just a bunch of meals. And also ‘cause now the garden is coming to the stage that….fades out.

Kitchen Codex is a site-dependent ongoing food-based event, collaborative social-sculpture and communal performance. Since 2015, Kitchen Codex has manifested, shared experiences and collected recipes in various locations and contexts such as Guelph, Ontario, Berlin Germany, Sudbury, Ontario, Mexico City, Mexico and most recently in Malmö, Sweden. Participants from the local community are asked to donate a personal recipe in any language in exchange for a Filipino meal which the artist prepare and serve.

Using food as a vessel for sharing knowledge and as a means to view and reflect on personal and collective histories, the compiled recipes will later be printed into a textile cookbook. Co-authored by the local community, Kitchen Codex aims to bridge the ritual of communal eating and sharing cultural awareness through the digestion of history and the joint solidarity of cultural appreciation during times of socio-political divisiveness.