"The living have to eat, to be sure."
- PAK KYUNG-NI, LAND
"To feed is the most basic verb, the most fundamental, the most rooted. It expresses the primordial activity, the primary basic function, the act ‘I’ engage in even before I am born, or begin breathing. Because of it I belong to the land forever. Like the smallest animal crawling in the dirt, like the smallest plant, I began by feeding myself"
- FRANCOIS JULIEN, NOURRIR SA VIE: A L’ECART DU BONHEUR
For the second installment of The Prosperity Project, MOUTH, in collaboration with The Korean Society of Ireland, is hosting ‘A Scarcity Banquet,’ which explores the role of hunger and famine in national consciousness based in an ambivalent relationship with the land; source of life and sustenance yet always a site of struggle, steeped in histories of expropriation and exploitation. The food for this banquet has been sourced, devised and developed with The Korean Society of Ireland on the basis of ingredients inscribed with the trauma of Irish and Korean societies. The central concept expressing this trauma is han. Understood by Koreans to be the essential national experience, han is formed from sentiments of loss and rage at the severance of wholeness and continuity between self and history. The accumulated emotions of sufferers, han can be projected onto any political ordeal, but is apprehended by MOUTH, here, as the lived response to communal instances of colonization and famine. The reason for this is of course not to attempt to reproduce or mimic the desperate conditions of these instances, but to heighten, even in a context of festive and philosophical enjoyment, an awareness of hunger as both a force of transformation and commemoration of social and political bonds. Hunger changes the world, transgresses the taboos that structure social identities and hierarchies, radically changing perspectives on what should and should not be eaten, and with whom one can and cannot eat.
For the late Pak Kyung-Ni, author of Land (1969-94), arguably the most powerful and important piece of Modern Korean literature, the deep-rooted even chthonic sorrow of han is paradoxically best expressed in convivial and festive fashion, just like in the Irish Wake, where mourning and melancholia are ameliorated by eating and drinking. Moving from han to MOUTH, then, in the wake of the dead and insurgency of the land, this the latest installment of The Prosperity Project marks the desire for a banquet in which living and eating well is the best tribute and revenge.
Edia Connole & Scott Wilson - MOUTH
Visit Mouth here.
This Vimeo video incorporates all of the artist Jesse Jones’ works within her commission ‘The Prosperity Project’, of which LAND: A Scarcity Banquet is explained from 7:20 - 9:55.