Monday, September 19, 2005

Hot Pot

Connected with my installation are various outreach projects encouraging the Chongqingese to think about their sonic environment. Through posters, internet, the media, university seminars and schools workshops young and old have been invited to submit descriptions of their favourite sounds. These have then be used to inform my creative process – specifically, which sounds are most in the minds of the local people and therefore I might work with, and also the language they use to describe what they hear and this is also contributing to the accompanying text based visual element.

A series of regularly quoted sounds are connected with the hot pot restaurant, which one writer summed up as “the music of life” - from the bubbling in the pot, through to the accompanying sounds of sounds of laughter, ‘hua cian’ and heated discussion.

The dish is actually served throughout China although it originated in Chongqing and it is here where it is at its spiciest. The meal consists of a bowl of boiling soup filled with chillies into which pieces of food are put until cooked. As you might expect from such a cuisine, the hot pot restaurants are filled with the raucous sounds of excited exclamations, and so perhaps it is not surprising that the dish has become integral to an understanding of the city’s very identity.