The Conch Girl Project is a visual, socially engaged project that utilizes cooking to co-nurture the mutual care for strangers in New York City. In a time of globalization, migration, and crisis, this project seeks to create experiential chances for healing kinship and emotional solidarity within a densely populated metropolis.

I migrated to New York City in 2021 from the opposite side of the globe. Dealing with my sense of displacement, I have been asking strangers to let me use their kitchen in solitude. In return, I cook them a meal. I started by putting out an online open call: a self-portrait of me in a classmate’s kitchen eating what I just made, and a paragraph of text that started with: “May I use your kitchen?” I ask for the least amount of face-to-face contact: I would arrive, cook, take photos, clean up, and leave. The kitchen owners usually leave the household or stay in another room during my visit. We usually won’t talk much, nor will we share the meal. After the visit, the resulting photos are sent to the kitchen owners, who are invited to make responses. These correspondences, along with the photos, will later be printed large and wheat-pasted on the green construction boards on the New York City streets, a public-facing, liminal space. The street publication is both a presentation and an open call that invites future collaboration.

The title “The Conch Girl” derives from a Chinese myth where a conch turns into a woman/goddess who takes on the secret nurturer role for a hardworking fisherman. The title is a name that bears the cruel tradition of marking domestic work as women's virtue. Though my project focuses on enacting radical care within a metropolitan setting rather than directly fighting against this structural injustice, The Conch Girl Project responds to my reality, which is inevitably informed and influenced by this tradition.



For more info: 
instagram: @theconchgirlproject