Food security is one of the biggest climate change issues we'll be facing in the coming years. Yet now, a South Korean trend where an on-camera hosts eat large amounts of food called mukbang, racks up millions of views daily. Sometimes hosts eat large platefuls of sashimi grade tuna while fish stocks dwindle around the world. Endless treams of Mukbang on Youtube's recommendation algorithm allows viewers to indulge in thoughtless consumption. The absence of consequences from the edited, artificial Mukbang environment creates an endless cycle of ungratified cravings, which feed into environmentally harmful agricultural trends as mass consumption rises.
The Dinner Table is a series of video works and live experiments that explore our changing relationship with food as it shifts from needs based to psychosomatic in an ever-evolving digital culture. In the first phase, I research correlaries between mukbang popularity and the fishing ecosystem, looking at effects on both fish stocks and labor. In the second phase, I use mukbang as a system of care for mukbangers everywhere, breaking down one-way passive communication to two-way interaction. I like to think of it as mukbang culture jamming. It counters the endless viral consumption by creating a platform where people can end the cycle and start connecting with one another, directly.
Performance stills from Acts of Life Exhibition in Makati, Metro Manila. Two mukbangers sit across from each other, copying each others actions at every move. If one eats, the other must eat the same amount. No one leads. Both listen for music cues that respond to the number of people who move closer to take a peak. The more people move in, the faster the music, the more they eat.