Edible Sculpture Exchange – March 2010
Doi Saket Fresh Market – Northern Thailand
The local Doi Saket market (30 minutes from Chiang Mai) was a muse to create an edible sculpture exchange that would reach past the boundary placed by language by communicating through visual aesthetic, familiarity in taste and the creative response to these.
During three weeks I visited the local market at different times of the day, familiarizing myself with the faces, stalls, and new ingredients. I began buying from the vendors, a variety of ingredients that I took back to my studio at Compeung and began making edible sculptures, rice paper poems and playing with dyed eggs.
Eventually, my host set me up with a local traditional fruit carver who came to the site to have a full day session with me giving me valuable tutelage in recreating local aesthetic.
The result of these experiments culminated in the setting up of my own stall in the local market and trading with the local people tiny quail’s eggs edible sculptures. They were not for monetary trade, but for whatever gift the people thought my sculptures were worth. I received bags and bags of produce, sweets and fruits, all from the same market stalls. My host and I donated the food we received to a nearby orphanage.
My focus on intimacy was present in many ways.
First, the other vendors were by that day, familiar with me, as I had been purchasing my ingredients from their stalls.
Second, the sculptures were so tiny and delicate, that the interested people were forced to come in really close in order to see what I was doing, making their focus narrow into each individual piece.
Third, each trader had an exchange with me verbally through interpretation and eventually ate the work that I had created.
Fourth, from that day forward my presence as a shopper in the market took a turn. I now had a relationship with the local people that existed beyond shared past, culture, religion, and language.
This was the first realization that my artistic practice could expand beyond working within an assigned discipline and that my experiences in travel and the desire for shared communication could directly infiltrate the form my practice takes.
Photos and video by Pisithpong Siraphisut