Thursday, July 30, 2009

The story of the ducks, for Polestar


duck
Originally uploaded by bnelle
So. Nobody knows how to get down and celebrate something like the Vietnamese. For the Kienando (the Vietnamese KF that I do) Festival that we put on every year, the parents and community provide a feast of Banh Mi (Vietnamese sammies,) roast pig, noodle dishes, rice dishes, agar (Asian style Jell-O,) fuits, cakes, and my absolute favorite, roast duck. In many Asian cultures the head of the animal is served with the rest of it. I've seen this withe pig, chicken, ducks, doves... Most of the time, the head doesn't get eaten. On the birds, there's very little meat, you know? If anyone does eat them, it's gonna be the little old Vietnamese grandmas and grandpas. The kids are way too American. They won't touch anything that reminds them of where the meal actually came from.

Anyway, at the end of the festival the masters and teachers who planned the whole thing take home the leftovers. I got a huge tray of duck bits. I ate duck every day for a week. Yum! And both the heads were in there, looking at me every time I pulled some out of the fridge... I've been interested for a long time in how inherently violent the act of eating can really be. Preparation to mastication. And how we get together for feasts and dinner parties and family dinners and eat things together. How food can be an emblem of human socialization. And I'm also interested in still lifes with food and how food can be a symbol in art for other things. So these duck heads seemed like a good starting off point to start to play with all of these ideas in a series of photographic images.

So that's the story. Expect more slightly gross food photographs in the future, and bon appetit!

4 comments:

lynelle's man said...

One certainly does feel savage and primitive when eating ribs or chicken with your hands. I always feel like a caveman. And I'm sure you sometimes think I am.

jessica, a miniature rhino said...

humm, violent, i guess its all in the wording you chose, because when i think of food, i think ritual, family, nourish, a gift (in preparing the meal), history... i have a friend whose whole body of work revolved around the meal/cooking/food, as ritual and history. i bet she'd have some great resources for you! i'll ask her and share...

PoleStar Jewelry said...

haha awesome post. I generally don't like to be reminded where they are coming from, however I could, for the sake of being polite take a nibble on a duck head...maybe. I do like the idea of eating duck for a week though :)

Lynelle said...

Jessica, I totally agree with you. I think of food as nurturing and good and ritualistic and a gift of love we make for each other. But I think that even with in this realm of nourishment and ritual, there is an aspect of sacrifice - the eating of bread at the holy sacrament, for instance. Or the ancient pagan ritual of the summer king - where a 'hero' was nourished and given all his hearts desire for a full year, and at the end of the year his blood was spilled as a sacrifice to nourish the land. So I think it's all sort of tied up together, and that's part of what I'm really interested in exploring in the images I want to make...