Kitchen Project is a collaboration between Quarantine, Manchester and Rania Ho and Wang Wei of Arrow Factory, Beijing. We’ve been talking and collaborating with Rania and Wang Wei since we met in Beijing in 2005. Perhaps it was inevitable that whatever we made would be something to do with food – our face-to-face meetings in Beijing or Manchester have invariably been over a meal or snack. We are endlessly fascinated by the sociology and politics of food.
Kitchen Project made our conversations public. Rania and Wang Wei became hosts in the transmission of some simple cultural and culinary knowledge. The dishes were taught to them in a cookery school in Beijing which is aimed at tourists and ex-pats and purports to teach “home-style” cooking. Most were recipes that neither Rania or Wang Wei had ever cooked or eaten at home. The project both subtly and directly addresses our perceived need to seek out the “authentic” in cultural exchange.
The first iteration of Kitchen Project took place in Manchester in February 2012. Rania & Wang Wei taught cookery classes in people’s homes in Manchester, playing with ideas about tourism, authenticity and food to delve into an exploration of the term ‘cultural exchange’. Read a blog about this version here: http://kitchenproject1.blogspot.co.uk
In May 2013 we presented a new version of Kitchen Projectas a pop-up kitchen on the outdoor terrace of the Stadsschouwburg in Utrecht, as part of SPRING Performing Arts Festival. Cookery classes started at midday and finished at 8pm. Across 3 days we ran 30 classes and worked with 142 people. And did 22 hours of washing up…
We want to continue to develop Kitchen Project. There’s a fascinating dialogue taking place through the project – not least around using food as a vehicle to talk about cultural specificities and assumptions but also around meeting points between British performance makers and Chinese visual artists.
We’re particularly interested in opportunities to explore new and developed versions of Kitchen Project in festivals and residency situations. We’re open to creating new shapes for the project in response to specific contexts….