Street Intervention, Performance
Scarcity project with Het Nieuwe Instituut,
24 hours-prepared Food / Background
In this fast-paced society, We take it for granted that hungry feeling can be solved immediately. With all the prepared food and fast food around us, we can get food easily from 24/7 stores in next corner and feed ourselves within 10 minutes.
This project originated from the high density of convenience stores in Taiwan. According to research in 2009, Taiwan has 9204 convenient stores. In the central area of Taipei city, every 100 meters has one 24/7 store. Moreover, 7-11 even becomes one of the main food supply companies.
These years, convenience store recipes are popular on Internet and mobile apps in Taiwan. They teach you to eat quick, easy, and healthy through meals from one convenience store for the whole week. Billboard virtual grocery stores also start to appear in metro stations in South Korea and Washington D.C., with the slogan of “people can shop wherever they go…we could change the waiting (of metro) time to shopping time.” In Japan and the Netherlands, prepared-food vending machines (自動販売機 / automatiek) are located in street. Your meal is ready within 10secs waiting time after you put your coins in. It seems like prepared food and fast food industries start to dominate the trend of food consumptions and markets, and gradually change our food cultures and eating habits.
What is the meaning of food to us nowadays, when our food products are always linked to fast, quick, and easy? What has been changed in this era of “eating explosion”, when we can reach food from everywhere at anytime?
Existence of Hunger?
Scarcity of Hunger starts from an assumption that hungry feeling doesn’t exist anymore in modern society. There is no more uncertainty or waiting time for the next meal. The meaning of food has been changed due to this explosion of quick food. We can easily predict where and when is our next meal. The way we treat food is not only a survival tool anymore. We eat and drink at any moment, and no longer take serious about the value of keeping our lives.
How is possible to slow down the pace of eating habit, to extend the waiting time, and to bring the profound hungry feeling back? Is that possible to reevaluate the thing we eat, and further to make ourselves to respect and appreciate the convenient society we have now?
Scarcity of Hunger-Feed me next meal is an intervention in the street, which attempts to trigger the awareness of hungry through a physical performance of waiting. The daily meals of mine are totally relied on other’s sharing. The only two things that I can do are waiting and trying to attract more people’s attention, empathy, and sympathy. This uncertainty of next meal brings on the profound hungry feeling from performer’s side. Additionally, it’s expected to stimulate viewers to rethink the mass-consumption of quick food, and further to reevaluate the food meaning to them.
I can only bring water.
I cannot bring or buy any food.
I can only eat food given or shared by others.
I need to sit on the chair during lunch and dinnertime.
(1200-1400 or 1700-1900)
The intervention mainly took place at fast food restaurants, markets, or just next to a crowd of people that are surrounded by quick food. It attempted to show the contradiction between slow and fast, and between waiting, rushing, and sharing.
In the beginning, the only equipment was a dining chair with a slogan on it, as well as myself. As time goes by, I started to apply more and more installations in order to attract people’s attentions and trigger their empathies. After 5 days, these tools grew up to 6 different kinds of glasses, speaker, alarm clock, picnic set, and so on, trying to slow down people’s steps. The slogans also changed according to different spaces, attempting to stimulate and invite more conversations from others.
The final result was showing by a Hungry Dairy, which documented the changing of my feeling and the process of intervention. It not only recorded my physical and mental feeling while waiting the next meal, but also included the conversations with others, as well as the tools, words, and acts to attract the possible sharing.