Open Kitchen: Shapes of Arrival

August 31, 2019


All Shapes of Arrival events are free to members or with admission to the sculpture garden.

Open Kitchen (OK) re-opens its cross-cultural, regional, seasonal food and thought exchange with the public with a series of events that explore the diasporic experience. These participatory events emanate from the project residencies Open Kitchen hosts here in Milwaukee. The Shapes of Arrival events will take place in and around an Open Kitchen installation on Lynden’s grounds.

Open Kitchen residents Patricia Nguyen, John Lee, and Hai Minh Thi Nguyen compose a Milwaukee-Vietnam index of aromas, flavors, and textures in the context of the ideas and beliefs of a diasporic experience. What is the taste of home? The smell? Throughout their residency, the collective will be working on Sống, a cookbook and archival project of the Vietnamese American community of Chicago. Sống translated means to live, liveliness, and raw. Sống is an active verb reflecting the liveliness of the people and stories that will be featured in the book. In addition, Sống works with the raw material of people's stories and the fresh ingredients used in Vietnamese cuisine to capture a taste of the homeland while fusing in new flavors. The cookbook will include interviews, recipes, photographs, drawings, and a history of Vietnamese migration to Chicago.

As an adjunct to this collective residency work, Open Kitchen has also invited a group of Chicago- and Milwaukee-based projects and individuals—Inga, Michelin, Kim Khaira, Angela Kingsawan--to a co-lecture and conversation on imagining a sensual archive. This is a Call & Response event.

Open Kitchen: Shapes of Arrival Events

Scents of Home: Sensorial Workshop, August 10, 1-3 pm
Common Scents: Edible Installation & Conversation, August 24, 1-5 pm
The Sensual Archive of Diasporic Peoples in Relation to the Naming of Things: A Lecture and Conversation, August 31, 1-3 pm

About the Artists

Open Kitchen is organized by Rudy Medina and Alyx Christensen. The project engages critical conversations on food, society and culture, local and at-large. By organizing food-related socials, seasonal residencies, counter-disciplinary collaborations, and satellite installations, conversations are collected, collaged, and open to the public.

Patricia Nguyen is an artist, educator, and scholar born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Her research and artistic practice emerges from a place of departure, rupture, presence, and possibilities as a child of refugees. Through embodied research, performance, installation, and community engagement she explores ecologies of freedom, migration, borders, and war to reveal histories of violence and imagine decolonial futures. Patricia has over 15 years experience working in arts education, community development, and human rights in the United States and Vietnam. As a performance artist, she has performed at the Nha San Collective in Vietnam, Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco, Jane Addams Hull House in Chicago, Prague Quadrennial, Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Chile, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. She is co-founder and executive director of Axis Lab, a community centered arts and architecture organization in Chicago. She is also Director of Undergraduate Studies and Assistant Professor of Instruction in Asian American Studies at Northwestern University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Performance Studies.

John Lee is an architectural designer and photographer who has lived in Chicago for 10 years. Lee’s work seeks what mnemonic possibilities can arise in notions of home, displacement, and space through the built and natural environment. His work is committed to cultivating places of possibilities through architectural design, as material, form, and content conjure a deeply affective relationship to history, people, and ongoing struggle for freedom.  John Lee has a masters in architecture degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His design work has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, alongside commissions and recognitions from established institutions such as Northwestern University, AIA Chicago, Art Works Projects, Propeller Fund and recently published photographic work in the Chicago Reader. John is also co-founder and co-director of Axis Lab, a nonprofit arts and architecture organization committed to advocating for inclusive and equitable development on Argyle Street, an historic port of entry for immigrants and refugees.   

Hai Minh Thi Nguyen is an artist and educator whose work highlights the invisible, effective labor of women. From large paper cuts to sewing construction, Hai Minh seeks to center stories that have traditionally been on the margin.

Angela Kingsawan is an indigenous person of Raramuri, Tigua, and Mexica descent. She was born and raised on the Southside of Milwaukee and uses her unique perspective as an urban native person to teach modern herbalism infused with native tradition to impact and empower communities of color. By providing decolonized education, seed exchanges, and growing culturally significant plants in an urban setting, Angela strives to help community members remember their cultural ways of being. She currently works as a garden manager at a local Milwaukee non-profit in the neighborhood she grew up in and has been an herbalist in her community for over 20 years.

Michelin, a project of Rudy Medina and Bennett Westling, is a lecture-related space located in Riverwest, above Company Brewing. 

Inga (Jacob Lindgren, Alan Medina, Malia Haines-Stewart) is a bookshop and events space in Chicago with a focus on independently published titles in art, design, film, and theory. 

Kim M Khaira is a community worker and artist based in Milwaukee from Penang, Malaysia, whose current work draws on the sense of home, creating home, and of making “sense” of the literal and abstract. She is exploring these themes in Pulang Balik: I Am Going Home Too her residency project at Lynden.

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