Tea Shop

Social sculpture. 2018. 5' x 3' x 7'; the swivel door extends the space by 3'. Steel, teak, corrugated sheet, solar power system ​(24V-200W), LED sign, public address system ​(with digital delay), furniture. In collaboration with the anarchist art collective called Noise in Yangon, I led the from-scratch construction of a mobile artist-run community center on a pushcart. This autonomous, interactive space—that we call Tea Shop—has a simple motto (translated into English): “Free to use by all (in cost and content). No red tape, no exclusion, and no power bill (we use solar energy).” Outside the reach of state censure, this in-progress project uses social sculpture to implicitly engage issues of land-use planning, neocolonialism and listening that is specific to the concerns of those in Yangon using it to creatively express themselves. Tea Shop can be easily morphed to accommodate many narratives and needs (concert hall, movie theater, vegan restaurant, translation center, makerspace, puppet theater, archive, meditation center, popup shop, or cellphone charging station). The included video documentation--or music video--shows the space being used as a micro library in the Yankin Township (with Rainfall Feminist Magazine; Myanmar Art Resource Center and Archive; SOCA; Gitameit Music Institute; Myanm/art; and Yangon Film School) and a village karaoke club in the Hmawbi Township (with students from New Zero's Art Village). This project was supported by an Asian Cultural Council Grant.