UCCA Beijing

"Drifting Realities: The Archipelago of Food Discourses" Session 3
Workshop led by Doreen Chan | Mom and Dad are Always Right (on Diet)


Location:  UCCA Workshop
Language:  Chinese

Doesn’t every family have their own myths about food? Each family has different dietary habits and taboos, which are quietly followed and spread like a genealogy. These “secret recipes” become family traditions, and relationships between parents and children can form a subtle node of interaction within discourses on food. What happens when dialogue on these topics spreads through pictures (for instance emoticons)? In today’s image-based, flattened global media landscape, how is one to determine the authenticity of online information about food? Can we locate reality in online images of food? And may family relationships be delicately portrayed through the way food images are shared and spread?

The artist Doreen Chan transcends the boundaries of photography through her artistic practice. In the process of using pictures to create new meaning and atmospheres, she uses original imagery as inspiration to create snapshots, collages, staged photography, performative video, and other mixed media work. Food and its vivid textures dominate her “image diary,” and are used in her investigation of senses, material, and details obscured in everyday life. In this workshop she will connect personal stories, historical fragments, and experiences, bringing these seemingly disparate elements together to consciously reflect on the “grammar” of consumer culture.

For “Mom and Dad are Always Right (on Diet)” Doreen Chan will remotely lead twelve participants divided into six groups, each

composed of two members of the same family, but from different generations. The participants will interact through discussions and games, sharing their families’ food “legends” and “beliefs.” In the process of sharing these stories and traditions, participants will also collect photos from the Internet, and by the end of the session, receive a digital version of a personal “food manifesto image,” prepared by a designer on-site.

Special thanks to Luo Peijia and Xie Jin for manifesto images design and production.

Event schedule

13:00–13:05 Introduction

13:05–13:25 Game

13:25­–13:45 Group discussion

13:45–14:05 Discussion in pairs

14:05–14:55 Creating Manifesto Images

14:55–15:10 Sharing


Doreen Chan (Artist)

Doreen, Wing Yan Chan (b. 1987, Hong Kong) is an artist who currently lives in Hong Kong and Chicago. She has received training in visual communication and photography. Chan’s artistic practices focus on the investigation of personal perception, materiality, and daily details that are often overlooked. Key elements in her works include interpersonal relationships, personal memories, and fragmentary moments of daily life in the city. As a lens-based and site-specific artist, Chan believes that images are merely raw materials. She integrates images with various media to re-examine the tensions between herself and the surrounding world.

Chan has held in solo exhibition at Lianzhou Foto Festival 2013 (Lianzhou, China), Kigoja (Seoul, South Korea), Charbon (Hong Kong), and HB Station: Contemporary Art Research Centre (Guangzhou, China). She has also exhibited her works in Beijing, Gwangju, Macau, Hong Kong, New York, and several cities in the UK. Chan was one of finalists in the 2015 Three Shadows Photography Award and the 2019 Art Sanya Huayu Youth Award.


Yan Fang (Curator of Public Programs, UCCA)

Yan Fang is an art critic and curator of public programs at UCCA Center for Contemporary Art. She graduated from University of Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne with a Master’s degree in History of Art: History of Art and Philosophy, and has previously worked at the Musée national d'Art moderne/Centre Pompidou.