Rirkrit Tiravanija: “The Way Things Go”

The Way Things Go

Rirkrit Tiravanija

Artist, New York, Berlin, and Chiang Mai



Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium
February 23, 2015, 7:30-9:00pm
The David Brower Center, Berkeley CA
Lectures are free and open to the public.


Co-presented with the Arts Research Center, Berkeley Center for New Media, The Brower Center, and the UC Berkeley Art Practice Department along with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.





About the lecture:  Well-known for installations which invite viewers to cook, share meals, and interact with one another, Rirkrit Tiravanija is widely recognized as playing a critical role in the development of artwork that engages the social space, and has been cited by French critical theorist Nicolas Bourriaud as a key example of his theory of Relational Aesthetics. In this lecture, Tiravanija will discuss his current exhibit, on view at The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from February 13th – May 24th, 2015; The Way Things Go is an expansive curatorial project which uncovers narratives, reveals personal stories, and shares vignettes that lead to a larger understanding of migration of people in the production of material culture.

Tiravanija invited artists from Asia and Europe, as well as from the San Francisco Bay Area, to contribute works related to the circulation and anthropology of seeds, plants, food, recipes, and related materials of kitchen culture that have circulated across regions and time. Featuring 12 artists projects and a wide range of work, from mixed-media installations to film, video, archive-oriented art, The Way Things Go explores how personal effects, gourds, seeds, a recipe, and sugar all yield stories that go beyond each artist’s personal intention, and creates a larger story of interwoven meanings embedded in cultural geography and spatial history.


Note on attendance: We’re delighted by the interest in the series this year, and we thank you for your patience as we try to create the best system to accommodate all who are interested in attending.  Our RSVP methods have proved fickle, with significant attrition some nights, and oversubscribed attendance on others.  Hence, for the rest of the series, the ATC series will revert to, yes, analogue methods. From now on, seating will be based only on place in line. Anyone who arrives by 7pm is almost certain to get in, with chances decreasing as the the line lengthens.  Please know that we will also set up an audio feed for overflow, and the video will be posted online as soon as possible!


About Rirkrit Tiravanija: Since the 1990s, the renowned Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija (born in 1961 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and currently living and working in New York, Berlin, and Chiang Mai, Thailand) has aligned his artistic production with an ethic of social engagement, often inviting viewers to inhabit and activate the work. In one of his best-known series, begun with pad thai (1990) at Paula Allen Gallery in New York, Tiravanija opted not to present art objects, but to prepare, cook, and serve home-style Thai curry to exhibition visitors. Tiravanija’s practice is very wide ranging and extends into many artistic forms. It may be productive to understand his work as a set of proposals that cross into environmentalism, biography, and politics as well as food, menus, and kitchens. While in his earliest works it appears that he approached social and political issues through a desire to establish localized communities, more recently, especially with his projects anchored in Thailand, he has become more directly responsive to shifts and changes on the political scene. Throughout his career, Tiravanija has framed his practice in the terms of local social geographies, while at the same time not disregarding the importance of personal experience. Tiravanija has won several prestigious awards, including the Hugo Boss Prize in 2005, the Absolut Art Award in 2010, the Benesse Prize by the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Japan, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lucelia Artist Award.