In Every Bite of the Emperor is a long-term art project by Youngsook Choi that explores ecological grief - how we grieve in our relationship with environments we live in and acknowledge the many impacts of damage to them.
The project weaves together knowledge of environments and experiences of the destruction of these, across communities in Malaysia, South Korea, the UK and Vietnam.
It asks how do we - through a process of grieving, gathering, storytelling, collective healing, and solidarity - imagine new ways to recover our lost connections and move towards a shared future?
We are currently in the project’s development phase which involves field research in both Malaysia (April 2023) and England.
In Malaysia, we have been working with community arts organisation Gerimis and its co-founder Wendi Sia. In a recent field research trip we visited historical tin mining and contemporary quartz mining sites in Perak, and were hosted in Pahang by a Semai family, along the banks of the Sungai Jelai Kecil, where we learnt about traditional weaving practices, Semai knowledge of ecological relations informed by animist traditions, and Sewang ritual healing practices.
In St Helens, we are working with Chrysalis Centre for Change and focusing on land at Colliers Moss North, cared for by The Mersey Forest.
In Every Bite of the Emperor continues Youngsook’s exploration of grief as a site for solidarity and ritual-making which emerged through her previous project Not This Future.
Through this project and her practice, Youngsook challenges the privilege of Western thought and reimagines humans’ relationship with the natural world, offering us a decolonial and multi-species approach.
Youngsook will share their early research so far at With For About: Care and the Commons in conversation with Gerimis founder Wendi Sia.