LA Heat: Taste Changing Condiments
Chinese American Museum
The work Founders Table considers two quintessential American condiments developed and manufactured in Los Angeles from recipes migrated from both Guadalajara and Eastern Thailand. The success of the two condiments considered staples particularly in Los Angeles during a time of often-hostile immigration debates raises interesting questions about valuations of cultural produces over people and how well shifting American culinary traditions reflect American's reaction to shifting of cultural demographics. Small toy ships (symbolic of trade, tourism, and the presence of colonization) move randomly over a black void of the tabletop. Converging, racing and sometimes just spinning aimlessly. Looming above the table are portraits of the founders of Sriracha and Tapatio their images digitally merged with two American founding fathers (Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin respectively) who held conflicting ideas in regards to the value of merging cultures. The result is a reflection on how American cultural values of hierarchal exclusion and cultural assimilation are at odds with its conceptualization as a land of freedom.