Using Tea Time As A Tool
Food experience designer Eunkyung Kang in South Korea puts an emphasis on food as an eating experience rather than as an object. Her projects focus on interpersonal understanding, communication and behaviors. "Distance of InTEAmacy" is an ongoing project which started in April 2018 and uses tea time as a tool to observe how food works in order to change behavior in unfamiliar social situations.
Distance of InTEAmacy
Distance of InTEAmacy gives people a new perspective on the day-to-day activity of tea time. Eunkyung wants to test whether the simple action of drinking tea can naturally create intimacy or open communication for the participants.
Before the performance
Eunkyung minutely schedules the tea time, from the beginning of preparation to the moment of enjoying the tea. The experience takes up 30 minutes in order for the participants to fully immerse themselves in the experience. The participants are asked to bring some of their own tea that is connected to a personal story. Before forming the groups, a short session is held where participants have to walk in between each other or pass each other by on purpose. This choreographed movement helps them to awaken their sense for comfortable and uncomfortable distances.
Preparing the tea
Preparation for the tea time begins with a piece of gauze, a sharing teacup, personal cups for individuals, a pencil and tea. The tea time begins with them telling stories to each other about the tea they brought. These are recorded on the sharing cup in the form of drawings or scribbles.
The tea is prepared by removing the tea from the original, branded packaging and wrapping it in gauze: the participants’ own personal teabag. Then, the group decides on a comfortable distance between members. All the new teabags are then connected using a long piece of string stretched the distance from one participant’s mouth to another.
Tasting the tea
The tea is made in the personal cups, and all the teabags of the group are combined in the sharing cup. The participants taste their own tea first and then share each other’s tea so they can taste the difference. The combined tea has a unique, blended taste and stimulates fresh conversations about common issues. They gradually build a relationship within the short tea time.