Uncontrolled Denomination is a lecture-performance and a food choral action conceived during the residency program “The Politics of Food” at Delfina Foundation, the starting point being the community based project Feed your Head (please scroll down) and the related Tuscan-Chinese hybrid dumpling. The project was later developed in Milano in a wider Euro-Asian perspective and finally carried in Delhi, at Khoj residency, with the involvement of Tibetan refugees’ descendants and Nepalese migrants.
Uncontrolled Denominations aims to deconstruct identity stereotypes while creating new forms of conviviality. The format is flexible and may includes public drawings and audio-visual narratives, such as this video-collage of videos from youtube.
BOTTLEGOURD BOKCHOY BALLET
The merging point of Chirag Dilli Nala and Yamuna is a beautiful but very corrupted farming landscape, here I collected several vegetables, especially bottle gourd, that are very familiar to me, under the southern Italian dialectal name cucuzza. The vegetables looked nice but I was concerned with their possible invisible corruption: I sent them to a chemical laboratory in order to search for the possible presence of heavy metals. But my up-stream search also brought me to Majnu-Ka-Tilla, a Tibetan refugee camp, where water activists carried a vast – and quite dramatic – survey on locally farmed vegetables. Here, on the riverbank, local peasants have been trained by Tibetans to farm Chinese vegetables, familiar to them (and to me), but named differently. The vegetable internationally known as bokchoy is very popular here, and is named pesa, while in my neighbourhood in Tuscany it is called xiang gu cai by Wenzhounese migrants. Uncontrolled denominations. In Majnu-Ka-Tilla this small vegetable means many things at the same time: an umbilical cordon with the lost motherland, a geopolitical paradox and a surreal genetic journey of Brassica Rapa Chinensis back to its roots. This vegetable is in fact the outcome of a secular process of domestication, started about 900 hundred years ago from the possibly native Indian Brassica Rapa, while the vegetable started a slow migration-transition from the Sub-Continent to China. Like for the bottle gourd, I also checked the bokchoy, searching for invisible poisons.
After a tasting of Sicilian lauki and Tuscan-Chinese bokchoy recipes, the result of the tests was made public to the audience.
*You can read Leone’s report here