Foodscape : A Swiss-Chinese Intercultural Encounter about the Culture of Food

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-09-01
  • Publisher: Consortium Book Sales & Dist
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Foodscape is a collection of texts and photographs created during an intercultural encounter with history and culture of food on a 14-day literary & artistic exchanges trip for Swiss authors and artists to China, and vice versa, for Chinese authors to Switzerland. During workshops, readings and public discussions, a linguistic and sensual approach made it possible to experience what is otherwise mutually foreign. In China, eating meals together is a matter of establishing commonalities and a basis for communication, as well as a way to encourage the harmony of the universe. From time immemorial, food has been a form of communication, first with the family, where togetherness is realized in common meals, then with business partners and friends to contemplate the fate of the economy and the society over food and drink, and finally with ancestors to be nourished with sacrifices of food. So it is not surprising that, in China, the daily greeting "How are you?" takes the form "Have you already eaten?" Why Switzerland and China? A similarity between Switzerland and the Pearl River Delta region is multilingualism: while Switzerland's national languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh, people in Guangdong region speak Cantonese, Putonghua, English, and Portuguese. Along with this multiplicity of languages in a small area, the literary work of Swiss and South Chinese writers seems having a similar sense of the transitory, the literary sketch that cannot be precisely categorized, and a subjective style full of linguistic play. Behind apparent simplicity, modern and precise observations of everyday life can be found; often, though, they lead away from reality into a highly artificial world of forms and language focused on the self.

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