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Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Yes and No of Blacklight Food

Posted by Jenna Lechner on Sat, Sep 15, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Not featured: Lemon. (It does not glow.)
  • PICA
  • Not pictured: Lemon. (It doesn't glow).

Brooklyn-based artist Thu Tran and sound artist Matt Fitzpatrick took the stage last night with food demos and slideshow lectures, imparting Tran’s findings after months of studying different food under a blacklight.

The night turned out much like you would expect: a few giggles shared over some Frankenstein junk food, e.g. a nutritional yeast and Emergen-C sprinkled atop a donut made from Pillsbury dough. This was scored to some goofy, keyboard lullaby music, with Tran singing off key (but with an endearing urgency). Tran has a sweet stage presence that makes her both super likable and fun to watch; it’s that personality you might know from her puppet cooking show series Food Party—it's zany, but done in deadpan, with a dark sensibility that every now and again creeps out of the edges of her permanent, toothy grin.

Tran's performance of Yes and No of Blacklight Food was done at the Cinefamily 24 hour telethon fundraiser, in Los Angeles, at 3 am. In lieu of a video from last night, here's a video from the telethon:

As has been mentioned regarding other shows at TBA, the Washington High School venue was a little inappropriate. The performance would’ve made better sense in a smaller, more intimate space (i.e. a small telethon stage). Watching an intimate act like cooking in stadium-like seating—as a projected live video feed, from a distant balcony seat in Washington High School—is peculiar, and feels counterintuitive (it also cut away from the open, communal, all-inclusive collaborative approach that Tran generally takes to her work).

Regardless, the auditorium was packed; the lower level was full, and the seats in the balcony seemed to fill as well. The show actually started on time last night! And it only ran about 45 minutes—any longer, and it might’ve been grating, but the 45 minutes was just long enough to enjoy some aggressive wafts of microwavable popcorn, and to create silly atmosphere to ease us into the last couple days of elusive and challenging variety of art that TBA tends to offer up.

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