Event report: talk series at Hikarie featuring Fumio Yonezawa, EAT & ART TARO, Fram Kitagawa

2018 TRIENNALEEVENT REPORTPosted : December 12, 2017

On 20 November 2017, the talk series welcomed Fumio Yonezawa, chef de cuisine of Jean-Georges Tokyo and EAT & ART TARO, an artist working on food and talked about their vision for ETAT2018 with Fram Kitagawa.

ETAT has been highlighting "food" during the festival. "As we have been exploring art that relate deeply to people and place since 2000, "food" has naturally become important element", Kitagawa opened the conversation. Art is one of the ways for people to engage with the nature or culture and in this context he increasingly feels the importance of "food" and this prompted him to ask Fumizawa to "feed" visitors to the festival (12000 meals!) and EAT & ART TARO to produce a few projects including Echigo-Tsumari Kamigo Clove Theatre.

Born in Asakusa, Tokyo, Echigo-Tsumari was the first countryside for Yonezawa to experience. He was amused by the number of dishes the local ladies served him but he believes food can find its root in Echigo-Tsumari. "Although Japanese cuisine has become intangible cultural heritage, it only refers to Sushi and other cliche. However, I think what mothers in Echigo-Tsumari cook is the true washoku (Japanese cuisine). What it takes to cook such washoku is something Japan can be proud of but they will be definitely lost due to ageing." During ETAT2018, what local people eat in summer and their flavours with unique twist brought by Yonezawa will constitute the base of Echigo-Tsumari taste. Yonezawa said "I would like to try presenting the origin and wonder of Washoku featuring summer ingridients in Echigo-Tsumari."

EAT & ART TARO recalled his experience in Echigo-Tsumari. He was always surprised by what he was offered by local ladies as they are always very tasty. He has to eat lots of cucumbers in summer - which are orinary cucumber but for some reasons they are so tasty. He thought that was something special to this place (Echigo-Tsumari) and presented "cucumber show" in ETAT2015. The other project he lauched was a theatrical restaurant at Echigo-Tsumari Kamigo Clove Theatre. The local ladies cook simple meal and he asked them to talk to visitors in between performances as the more they talked the more delicious the meal became. They were shy at the beginning but they went on and on talking towards the end. They became like actoresses. Kitagawa said "the head of the village was puzzled by saying "they started to put too much make-up on". EAT & ART TARO is planning to feature colourful Tsumari (due to the diverse range of plants) and water in his project during ETAT2018.

We will run two different courses for guided tour during ETAT2018, one to enjoy meal by Yonezawa and the other to eat at one of the restaurants in Echigo-Tsumari. Just like Yonezawa and EAT & ART TARO, those who are willing to learn from local ladies and keen to know local wisdoms can build a long-lasting relationship in Echigo-Tsumari than someone with an ambition to open his own restaurant. Let's see what we can taste and enjoy during the festival next summer.