Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Sushi Series performance

On Thursday evening as part of the 'Yes, but is it editable?' exhibition in the ExLibris Gallery at Newcastle University, I did a performance called Sushi Series.

The premise of the exhibition is to examine ways in which form and image can be reproduced, shared and transformed through the creation of a multiple. Artists have responded to this in a number of ways and have used a wide range of materials and processes.

I was keen to make a work specifically for the exhibition opening, and wanted to produce something beautiful by performing a number of processes, rather like what happens on a production line. My intention to share the process and outcome with the audience lead me to develop a sushi making performancI set up a table with all the equipment and ingredients that I needed to make a selection of different types of sushi. I had spent the Wednesday evening preparing lots of sushi and so had a supply to start with.

I had prepared a range of vegetarian Maki sushi "rolled sushi". The specific type of maki sushi I made was Chumaki. Chumaki sushi refers to the medium sized roll with the rice and filling on the inside and seaweed on the outside. There are usually 2-3 fillings in Chumaki as opposed to a single filling in Homomaki.

During the performance I made more Chumaki. The fillings available were

- avocado
- cucumber
- pepper
- carrot
- spring onion
- prawns
- crab sticks
- smoked salmon

I used a variety of combinations of ingredients, and made bespoke sushi for people. They could each choose their own combination of ingredients. People got very excited, and made some ambitious requests, meaning that some of the sushi turned out to be Futomaki, which are large rolls of maki sushi with 4 or more fillings!

In addition to the maki, on the evening, (with a little guidance from fellow sushi fan, Irene), I also made Nigiri sushi. Nigirizushi or Nigiri Sushi basically means "hand-pressed sushi".

Sushi rice is formed into an oblong shape using the palm of one hand and the forefinger and thumb of the other, then it is topped with a swipe of wasabi and covered with Neta (a topping that is normally some type of seafood, but can also be a Japanese Omelette, chicken, horse or something else).

Some toppings are bound with a thin strip of nori around the middle.

I really enjoyed the evening and being able to share something with others. It was well suited to the occasion of the art opening, and I was positioned in a good place within the gallery as it invited people into the space, and did not disturb the other works too much.

I am beginning to realise that my role in the activation of the work is important, and am keen to explore this further.


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