Thai(wan) Basil, 2023
10mins, HD, Color
Olfactory bulb, a structure locates at the front of the brain, manages our sense of smell. It sends information to the body’s central command for further processing. Through this route, aromas go to the limbic system, the parts that process emotion and memory.
I use basil in my cooking. However, the food hasn’t smelled the same since I moved to Chicago. I’m thinking about the licorice- and anise-like smell of the Asian Basil that ought to be extracted by high-heat stir-frying. It has been a while that I ask the sweet, peppery, fragrant Western Sweet Basil to do the job in my basil omelet. I know it tried, but the food hasn’t smelled the same.
The residual Proust effects, generated by the lack of original material, lead me to explore memory-scapes in urban spaces that accommodate international lost souls who came to find new lives, where every cubicle in a building is a battlefield of the idea of leaving and searching for home. The hybridity of pasts and futures in urban spaces creates a mix and match in culinary rules. While we are all on the quest of finding the flavors we remember and the aromas that are so dear to us, the absence of authenticity has become our common ground. I find comfort in a hypothesis, maybe we find home in those fragile moments of peace shared in coexistence, in common loss, in common gain.