last updated: Tues May 22, 2018
What is the mukbang performance?
Mukbang is a performance piece inspired by the South Korean internet subculture of 'mukbang' or 'eating broadcast' where a host livestreams themselves eating large quantities of food. In my performance, I will livestream myself eating while wearing a hat made of teeth (pictured below) and interacting with viewers via a chatroom.
Food and eating are deeply cultural experiences. Eating certain foods connects us to family and acts as a signal that we belong within certain groups or spaces. As a white-passing mixed person of Korean descent, I often receive stares and questions when eating at Korean restaurants. What should be a comforting and mundane experience - that of eating Korean food - becomes treacherous when I must field constant questions regarding my racial authenticity.
When I first heard of mukbangs, I was intrigued by the idea of taking back control over the experience and pleasure of eating by choosing to put myself and my eating on display. I created the tooth hat as an externalization of my feelings of being othered while eating, and as armor to protect me against the stares of others. While wearing the hat, I could eat in peace knowing the stares were directed towards my headpiece and not towards me.
March 28, 2018
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