FoodCHI 2017

Nov 17 - 18, 2017, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Dr. Francis Maravillas

University of Technology Sydney, Australia


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Designed Assemblages: Food and the Aesthetics of Participatory Practice

In recent times there has been a growing recognition of the interaction between art and design at the level of participatory, socially oriented practice. This has coincided with developments in both art and design that register a shift from the production of discrete objects toward the creation of social and event-bound forms of aesthetic experience through user-focused, collaborative and relational practices. This increased interest in the aesthetics of participation has, moreover, sought to blur the boundaries between extant art and design practices and those of everyday life, production and consumption, the private and the public sphere.

This paper critically reflects on some of these points of convergence between art and design through an analysis of a number of participatory art projects in Asia that incorporate food in performative and socially engaged ways. Through an analysis of the food based performance and wearable table of Dutch-born Indonesian artist Mella Jaarsma (I Eat You Eat me), the digital archiving of the social memory of cassava in the work of Malaysian artist Lim Kok Yoong (Operasi Cassava 3.0) and the spatial design of the performative installation work of the Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei (The Dining Project), this paper considers how these forms of participatory art may be understood as open-ended, compositional assemblages (made up, variously, of somatic, technological, cultural and environmental elements) that engender relational and affective modes of engagement in ways that are attuned to the specific local contexts and histories of the region.

Short bio:

Dr Francis Maravillas teaches in the School of Design at the University of Technology, Sydney. His research interests focuses on contemporary art and visual culture in Asia and Australia, curatorial practice, socially engaged and collaborative art. He is currently writing a book on the significance and various uses of food in contemporary Asian art. He has published articles and book chapters on the Asia-Pacific Triennial exhibition series, Asian artists in the diaspora in Australia, and food and hospitality in contemporary Asian art. He is area editor (Asia-Pacific) of the Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas journal. He was previously a board member of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney (2004-2007).

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Video recording of the talk