This summer, Charlie Evans (2014 BA Design graduate, and currently a Technical Tutor in the Department) spent two months in Taipei, on a Designers in Residence program for the British Council in Taiwan. Charlie sent us regular correspondence with impressions from his experience; we’re publishing his fifth letter today.
I’m working on an installation and performance for the night market in Gongguan. I’ll be using various types of tape and applying it to people’s knees, a technique that athletes use which I’ve been researching in Taipei.
Why I’ve chosen the night market:
When I’m taking my wrestling training seriously, I’m really strict about my diet. The details are bland but 90% of the strategy is to not eat wheat or refined sugar. Working at Goldsmiths, this means there’s almost nothing for me to buy in the surrounding shops and canteens. A small inconvenience, because I have to plan my food in advance, but beyond this is the subtle message is that New Cross isn’t for me: it won’t provide me with an architecture of convenience, instead offering itself to people with different purchasing habits. In this respect, food becomes a defining aspect of the immediate architecture, governing behaviour and the body.
In the UK, cheapness and convenience are facilitated by bread. It’s the problem of the sandwich. In Taipei, the food landscape feels very different because of the abundance of rice. Whilst there are convenience stores, there is also a huge number of restaurants serving inexpensive vegetables and rice. These bustling restaurants are social spaces that give time and space to people. For me, the cultural preference for rice over bread begins to generate alternative architectures more civic in nature, less adept with a culture of 35 minute lunch breaks and eating at your desk or as you walk to the next meeting.
Considered in this way, food is architectural in nature. The night markets of Taipei, as an emblem of food culture, therefore become a viable space for discourse and intervention. My installation helps to develop this thinking, becoming a research tool in the form of a market stall/stage.
- Flag in the ground
- Food = Architecture
- Rituals for the body
- Food as ritual
- Interior architecture of the body.
- The body as obvious and simultaneously mysterious.
Charlie is also keeping a visual blog on Tumblr.