This project is an audience-inclusive portrait of bánh mì, a familiar everyday sandwich in Vietnam, and a simple cultural artifact that portrays a century of Vietnamese history.
What people know as bánh mì in America is actually strange to Vietnamese people, and vice versa. While most American people recognize bánh mì as a savory sandwich with baguette-like bread, some meat, pickled vegetables and (especially) srirarcha, Vietnamese people often eat bánh mì by itself, with condensed milk, and potato soup. Now bring bánh mì to any other country, its variations will only broaden and expand. Each and every person has a different version of bánh mì, and a different idea of what should and should not make a bánh mì.
I set up a “canvas” for the portrait with a blank magnetic board and magnetic prints of what makes a bánh mì in the gallery. The viewers are invited to put up (or take out) the prints that they think fit the definition of a bánh mì on the board, whether it's a piece of foodstuff, history or visceral culture. By using bánh mì, I want to ease the audience in and bring up the message of maintaining a flexible mindset while interpreting cultures.