Encore Michigan

Interactive theatrical installation will celebrate Detroit’s Banglatown 9/4-5

News August 21, 2015 Encore Staff

Tactile Taste of Banglatown 2Created by Washington DC-based artist Carmen C. Wong, Tactile Taste of Banglatown is an interactive theatrical installation that turns stories and memories of Detroit’s Banglatown residents into a communal cooking and eating experience for all to enjoy. This guided installation will run Friday, September 4 from 6-9 p.m. and Saturday, September 5 from 5-9 p.m. at Play House (12657 Moran Street, Detroit, MI 48212). Tickets are a suggested donation of $5-$10. Entrances are timed on the half-hour and capped at 15 viewers per period; for reservations please call 313.454.1756 or email info@thehinterlandsensemble.org.

Tactile Taste of Banglatown makes tangible – and edible – some of the rich and diverse food traditions that run through this unique pocket of Detroit, from fusion stews to found-object trellis systems to the perfect cup of tea. The piece uses sound, taste, and playful environments to recreate stories of Banglatown residents. Part picnic, part playground, part pop-up kitchen, Tactile Taste of Banglatown celebrates meals gone by in homes far and near. Audiences will explore the multi-faceted identity of the Banglatown neighborhood as well as taste the role of food and migration in personal identity.

This work is part of a series of “gastro-performances” created by Carmen Wong, a Washington, DC-based food artist, theater director and self-proclaimed avant-pop provocateur. These performances blow apart the everyday experience of eating, liberating taste, smell, texture, and elevating the simplest act of feeding one’s self and others into a theatrical experience. For Tactile Taste of Banglatown, Wong connected her own experience around eating and cooking after emigrating from Singapore to the United States to those of Banglatown residents. Wong created the work in three periods in residence at Power House Productions, interviewing neighbors, cooking with families, and swapping stories with corner-store shopkeepers. Installation design is done in collaboration with Shoshanna Utchenik, with sound design by Hinterlands’ co-director Richard Newman.

Tactile Taste of Banglatown is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts ArtWorks program and the Warhol Foundation and was commissioned by Power House Productions.

Carmen C. Wong is a conceptual food and theatre artist, and performance studies researcher. She is the founding Artistic Director of banished? productions (Washington, DC) where she experiments with avant-pop performance collages and concepts. Her gastro-performance series examining performances by, with, and around food and eating has been seen in iterations and workshops in Washington DC, Finland, and Detroit.

An artist-run neighborhood-based nonprofit organization, Power House Productions develops and implements creative neighborhood stabilization strategies to revitalize, inspire, and advance the community: www.powerhouseproductions.org

Pictured: Tactile Dinner Longview Gallery, Washington DC

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