Cháo/Art is an intriguing event created by Cam Xanh, co-founder of Post Vidai Collection, MoT+++ and A. Farm. The gathering unfolds in a magical space where a group of artists (including Cam Xanh herself along with fellow artists, writers and curators) cook and serve plain cháo, the most basic type of Vietnamese rice porridge, to customers, guests of honors, tourists, neighbors, voyeurs, vagabonds, as well as those unable to pay at all. Cam Xanh not only capitalises on this new surge of public interest in “detox” diets but notices another function of cháo in Vietnamese society: its healing power. Cháo has always been the go-to nourishment for the impoverished during extreme famines as well as the ill or injured during recovery periods. Often served in familial or communal settings, cháo strengthens the body and reinvigorates the spirit despite its unadorned nature.
On the other hand, we are not obliged to read Cam Xanh’s happening as a grand metaphor for class struggles or the state of the arts and humanities in a rapidly industrializing country. Imagine walking by an open space in which unlikely cooks calmly stir huge pots of boiling porridge and sit among piles of ceramic bowls, ready to serve hungry, curious and/or amused customers who might or might not pay, but are willing to help and play along. Whether you belong to the category of those saturated with means or the starving-artist type, come for some Cháo/Art, whichever feels necessary.