Food Material
Aimee Bahng and Candice Lin
April 15, 2021

In the ongoing series Food Material, artists and food practitioners share ingredients and material on their minds and in their lives, diving deep into their histories and meaning today. These conversations in the studio (and sometimes kitchen) often include friends and special guests, addressing how ingredients can take us from cooking-in-quarantine to questions of scarcity or accessibility, as well as the confluence of food and art-making.

For this episode, Active Cultures curatorial assistant Anna Cho-Son is joined by scholar Aimee Bahng and artist Candice Lin to discuss parallels in their respective literary, scholarly, and visual works—each investigating notions of toxicity and the ways in which consumption and edibility are complicated by the porosity of the body, both human and non-human. To consider "what is edible," they look to a range of sources and stories: from radioactive mushrooms to the microbial, from the wild boar to the smell of durian in Larissa Lai's science fiction novel, Salt Fish Girl. Their discussion further explores the interspecies connections which span histories of imperialism, colonialism, and diaspora across land and ocean ecologies.

A Q&A will follow the discussion.

Food Material is an ongoing series organized by Curator of Public Programs Bianca Morán that explores how foodways provide a window into our most fundamental beliefs about cultural expression, equity, environmental sustainability, and ourselves. As with many of Active Cultures' current programs, Food Material lives online until we can gather in person again.

Food Material is made possible in part through the generous support of the Active Cultures Board of Directors.


Aimee Bahng is an associate professor of gender and women's studies at Pomona College, where she teaches courses on feminist and queer theory, environmental justice, and Asian American Studies. She is the author of Migrant Futures: Decolonizing Speculation in Financial Times (Duke University Press 2018), which investigates how we narrate futurity across various platforms—from science fiction to financial speculation. She has also published a number of articles on transnational Asian American literature and the work of science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler. A recent recipient of the Mellon New Directions Fellowship, Dr. Bahng is taking courses in environmental law while working on her current book project, tentatively titled Settler Environmentalism and Ocean Ecologies.

Candice Lin is an artist whose practice utilizes installation, drawing, video, and living materials and processes, such as mold, mushrooms, bacteria, fermentation, and stains. She has had recent solo exhibitions at the Times Museum, Guangzhou, China (2021); Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2020), New Zealand; ICA, NYU Shanghai (2020); Pitzer Galleries, Claremont, CA (2020) and the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Art Center, Canada (2019). Lin has been included in recent group exhibitions including the 2021 Gwangju Biennial, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the 2019 Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale, 2018 Taipei Biennale; the 2018 Athens Biennale; and Made in L.A, 2018, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. She is the recipient of several residencies, grants and fellowships, including the American Academy in Berlin Fellowship (2021), the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant (2019), The Artists Project Award (2018), Louis Comfort Tiffany Award (2017), the Davidoff Art Residency (2018) and Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2009). She received her BA in Visual Arts and Art Semiotics from Brown University, in 2001, and MFA in New Genres from San Francisco Art Institute, in 2004; and she is currently Assistant Professor of Art at UCLA and lives and works in Los Angeles.

Anna Cho-Son is an artist living in Los Angeles and is the curatorial assistant at Active Cultures. Her work explores different states of being through ideas of consumption and the metabolic, focusing on text, performance, clay and drawing. These days she is investigating the distance between fickle hearts and wandering eyes, between translations and trouble, between now and realms of alterity. In 2021 she graduated UCLA with a major in Fine Art and a minor in Food Studies and hopes to continue working through and exploring food through collaborative experiments.