Mai Ling Kocht is a series of oral, auditory, and haptic performances tapping into the evolution of Asian food through mobility. Taking place in both physical and virtual realms, Mai Ling experiments with conviviality inviting participants to descend into a deeper exploration of food — its stickiness, its histories, and its politics. By tending to our desires for comfort and pleasure, food transforms beyond mere sustenance to a medium that satiates what was lost through migration. Through performative interactions with food, Mai Ling deconstructs oppressive structures and stereotypes — those that have been superimposed and reproduced — as a means for survival and protest.
For this iteration of Mai Ling Kocht at Pickle Bar, Mai Ling serves a selection of fermented and pickled foods originating from East Asia — cheap, dirty, and preserved. Reversing the logic of sour and spoiled foods, Mai Ling creates a political argument that is contrary to Western cultural constructions of the East: “We All Eat Dirt”
Founded in 2019 in Vienna, the artist collective and association Mai Ling offers a platform to share and exchange experiences, struggles, as well as practices of anti-racism, sexism, homophobia, and any kind of prejudice toward one’s difference — especially against Asian womxn bodies. The name “Mai Ling” refers to a fictional figure invented by Gerhard Polt, a famous German comedian, in 1979. She embodies a submissive hybrid and fantasised stereotype of Asian women that has been silenced and invisible in the collective imagination. Triggered by this fictionally constructed character that still lingers around in our contemporary societies, Mai Ling, as an artist collective, re-narrates and portrays “Mai Ling” with collective voices and multi-layered identities.