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Frozen Food project 1998

In 1998, I immigrated to the Netherlands and settled in Amsterdam. Upon arrival, I had no idea what life was like in the Netherlands, and consequently, most of my first-year experience was a strange mix of my need to create new ‘artworks’ and my attempt at habituating to life in Amsterdam. The immigration experience includes getting used to new routines, discovering new geography and routes, and learning the locals’ habits. For me, one way to assimilate was by exploring, using, and consuming local food. From this perspective, my first year experience of going to the supermarket was like entering a parallel dimension; although the food products on the shelves seemed familiar, I could never be sure whether I bought the right thing (I once bought vinegar instead of sunflower oil because the bottles looked similar). At some point, I discovered the supermarket section that epitomized my stance as a second-time immigrant. Located among the pre-packed microwave dinners, the multicultural cousin section consisted of an Italian dinner (pasta with Res sauce), a Chinese dinner (an unidentified egg-roll floating in red sauce), and a Dutch dinner (green mashed-potatoes with sausage). Turning those food cultures into unidentifiable masses seemed like a missed opportunity. For this reason, I photographed these artifacts in an alienated manner, presenting the contents of each meal as a purely aesthetic experience, disregarding the question of its palatability altogether.

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