In RAW, a bowl of uncooked rice was placed at a table for two, within which were two telephone receivers connected to a device playing a continuous loop tape. Participants listened to a dialogue that began as a civilized, polite dinner conversation and built into an abusive monologue. This piece chronicled a personal experience of racism in an inter-racial relationship. As the relationship deteriorates, differences in culture, looks and values are used to alienate the other person. The experience of racism is traumatic, especially if it occurs with a friend or lover. Issues of race often exist at an unconscious level.
Our piece showed how discrimination against race is often deeply hidden from ourselves, and that only under duress does this bigotry emerge, usually to be used as a weapon. The meaning of “rice” changes throughout the piece: from a metaphor for a shared meal that celebrates the beginning of a relationship, to the ritual of throwing rice for good luck at weddings, to the stereotypical symbol for Asian culture.
Media: customized table, rice, sound mix, audio CD player, telephone handset
Location: WorksGallery, San José, CA