Dancing Cooks

DANCING COOKS: People’s Voices.

As community-oriented project the Dancing Cooks restaurant was meant for guests and neighbors to make sense and use of it in their own ways. With this in mind the legacy of Dancing Cooks is best reflected through the voices of individuals who helped shape and activate this socio-culinary initiative in the middle of Seoksu Marketplace.

C O M M E N T S · F R O M
· MeeWha Lee
· YoungDae Im
· Proprietor of Honam Shintan
· Neighboring Resident
· HyungSoon Jang
· Ajuma and Seoksu Market Shop Owner
· HyoCheng & HyoIm Lee

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Dancing Cook People
In the beginning I was rather skeptical if the no-menu, no-money concept of Dancing Cooks was really viable. Don't get me wrong, I really love the idea but artists need to be able to live from what they are doing... Through this restaurant the audience is directly engaged in the artistic experience but without any monetary earnings it is not really sustainable in the long run. Suppose that the food would be sold then obligations such as paying rent and obtaining permissions become an issue. Without sponsors it seems difficult to keep this place going. What I really dig about Dancing Cooks is how the art aspect was hidden in this conceptual frame. There were many different ways and levels to participate in the restaurant. The delineation between artist and audience got wonderfully blurred. I observed that not only the initiating artist was center stage but also some of its guests like, for example, the father who makes pizza from scratch for the first time in his life became a main actor in this kitchen... It is great how Dancing Cooks is putting the audience in an active position. The no-menu idea indeed opens up a lot of room for spontaneity.

MeeWha LEE (artist and staff member of Seoksu Art Project 2010)

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Dancing Cook People
Behind the Dancing Cooks restaurant I recognize a lot of dedication. A commitment to establish a warm, homey place in this market, to bring delicious, sometimes exotic foods to the table, and to lure various people into this market that maybe otherwise would never show up here. I see a dedicated effort to bring out the beauty that lies in all of us when we share food together. I am glad that I could be of practical help to this one-of-a-kind restaurant, especially during its construction period. I regret that due to the language barrier I was not able to communicate better with the artist.

YoungDae IM (technical director of Seoksu marketplace)

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Dancing Cook People
I was always glad to witness the people and activities that took place in and around Dancing Cooks. I am happy when there is life and energy coming to a part of Seoksu marketplace that normally remains dark and vacant. It feels reaffirming to have a neat, well-lit place right here in the back aisle of my own eatery and where people obviously have a good time. Some of the customers might eat at Dancing Cooks instead of my own eatery but I don't mind that since more social activity at Seoksu market benefits us all. For a long time I wanted to treat the foreign artist to a Korean-style breakfast but I am not sure if he would like it since he seems to be more into Italian espresso and cereals...

Proprietor of Honam Shintan (eatery just opposite of Dancing Cooks)

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Dancing Cook People
Recently I got to know Mr. Park, the director of the Seoksu Art Project, who introduced me to Dancing Cooks. Since then I have stopped by here several times because I enjoyed having access to this open kitchen so close to my house. You never know whom and what you might encounter here and what food comes to the table. My hope is that this place can stay open and keep attracting new people into the marketplace. I guess that this restaurant needs more time to grow and consolidate. I wish that I spoke better English or that I could speak in Korean with the artist who launched this project. It certainly would open up more possibilities for bringing in an even broader audience. In any case, I felt always welcomed here, even when I arrived empty-handed. I really like the relaxing atmosphere with its attention to details and no obligation to consume anything.

Neighboring Resident (painter living in Seoksu-dong 2)

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Dancing Cook People
The Dancing Cooks restaurant was always so busy... Almost every night I came to check on what was happening down here since I live just a block away. And even when nobody was around I discovered that the door to the restaurant was open and that I easily could enter. Over the Chooseok holiday week when the artist wasn't around, I took the liberty to bring my wife and daughter down here to cook our little, private family dinner. It was great fun to leave our home, change scenery and cook up our Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of the marketplace.

HyungSoon JANG (artist living in Seoksu-dong 2)

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Dancing Cooks looks like a regular eatery or coffeeshop but in fact it is a fullfleshed restaurant.

Ajuma and Seoksu Shop Owner (KeumSan InSam fishcake & kimchi shop)

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Dancing Cook People
I very much like the lighting of Dancing Cooks. I feel like I ought to dance when I am eating there... Among the Stone&Water people we intent to use this space in the future more often. For example, on October 25 is SoMinh Kang's birthday coming up and we want to surprise her with a party at Dancing Cooks. At one point Mr. Park — who declared himself as new owner of Dancing Cooks — told us that he wanted to make a noodle restaurant out of the restaurant... The other day while we made lunch at Dancing Cooks many people passing the shop asked us 'where is the foreign chef today?'

DhoKyong LEE (art education coordinator at Stone&Water)

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Dancing Cook People
We visited DANCING COOKS over the weekend and baked onion pie for lunch. In the evening, we made with our grandmom and other guests a family style pizza together. The food was delicious indeed and very fun to make. If this art festival will be held again in the future we will certainly go again. It was truly fun.

HyoCheng & HyoIm LEE
(sisters and guest cooks on September 26, 2010)

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Seoksu Art Project
Seoksu Art Project 2010
The Dancing Cooks restaurant was part of the Seoksu Art Project (SAP) 2010 and Anyang Public Art Project (APAP) 2010. Behind SAP stands the Supplement Space Stone&Water, a nonprofit arts platform that promotes experimental projects and residencies in and around the Seoksu Market in Anyang, South Korea, where art and life meet. Since 2007, SAP is hosting an international residency program that immerses guest artists in the local community of this traditional marketplace that is economically in decline. SAP’s goal is to transform transform idle spaces into creative opportunities where citizens and artists envision and experience alternative ways of cohabitation.

Seoksu Art Project
Anyang Public Art Project 2010 —
Responding to “Cities Temporary, Society Nomadic”

Anyang Public Art Project (APAP) was an inquiry into the idea of new community that could sustain and advance within the ephemeral conditions of the contemporary Korean city. The volatile situation of Seoksu Marketplace is due to a gigantic high-rise appartment complex project that suspends the future and prosperity of the entire Seoksu-dong and Manan-gu area. This predominant urban redevelopment process in Korean cities is violent and often a total erasure of the past on behalf of the new. The result is a highly fragmented and largely homogenized urban landscape — mostly parceled into rather unattractive and virtually identical hi-rise apartment buildings. With most existing urban structures and systems economically relevant for no more than 20 years, cities are becoming patchworks of tabula rasa to be redeveloped over and over again. Capitalism moves and so do Koreans. Ingreasingly Koreans are becoming a society of floating populations, physically disconnected from the land, constantly moving from one place to another. Korean society seems to be nomadic again. APAP 2010 was grounded on the idea of Public Culture, a practice of art as a multi-disciplinary, research-based and process-oriented collaboration with the public and its various cultures. where citizens and artists envision and experience alternative ways of cohabitation.

T H A N K · Y O U ! Many people helped shape and activate the Dancing Cooks restaurant. I want to express my gratitude to all those whose name came to my attention and the numerous dancing cooks and guests that I missed to mention here: YoungDae Im, ChanEung Park, YongJa Park, SoYean Goak, YoonJi Lee, DhoKyoung Lee, SanGyo Lee, EunSun Lee, SoYoung Hyun, Mee-Wha Lee, SanJo Lee, Mi Yoo, DaiNam Kim, Ian-John Hutchinson, HyeRyeon Jeng, JunYeong Jang, Daeil Lee, AhRam Lee, Tong-Hi Lioba Choi, InSuk Ko, Florian Stirnemann, Jia Gu, Matthias Rick, HanSam Son, Chie Yamada, HyoJang Hyori, YongU Lee, SunJung Bahc, BongChin Oh, Jae Kyang, SoMinh Kyang, GangSik Lee, JunMo An, GyeongSeob Oh, JunYoung Ji, Monika Hyu, HongSoo Kang, HyeRan Park, Junghee Ahn, HyoCheng & HyoJung Lee, KwangTe, Kyong Park, Lisa Kim Davis, MiHyun Paek, JooYoung Lee, SanGyong Kim, Palash Bhattacharjee, Jimbo Allen Abel, Marc Vincent Cosico, Laura Cooper, Gabriele Horndasch, Ibai Hernandorena, Katrin Murbach, Riikka Tauriainen, Tetsuro Kano, Keijiro Okamura, Dorota Podlaska — and last but not least — Lehan W. Ramsay and Yuka Saitô.