Portable Counsels

Portable Counsels 1.1

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Description: A significant feature of Hanoi's public spaces was the direct sale and consumption of goods on footpaths and the prolific use of baskets, portable metal glass cabinets or trolley forms for their preparation and display.  The amount of lively conversation and interaction generated by this daily buying and selling of goods was also of importance.  The Action Researcher/Performer chose fourteen Buddhist counsels and using a black marker pen wrote the texts onto brown pieces of paper in Vietnamese and English.  Some of the counsels read for example: 'The biggest enemy of human life is one’s self'; 'The greatest wealth of human life is health'; and 'The biggest defeat of human life is pride'.  These brown pages were then folded into a tight package and tied together with red raffia (using the typical techniques used by locals presenting food).  These parcels were then placed in a small metal medicine cabinet.  The Action Researcher/Performer carried the cabinet across the city and then installed it in a series of footpath sites.  Many people stopped to look at what was inside, the female street vendors of fruit and sweets (who traverse the street each day) showing particular interest.  The vendors were offered the Buddhist Counsels, when they stopped to look and talk, some opening them up straight away to see what was inside and others taking the parcel with them on the daily rounds of the city.  A few vendors offered their sweets to the Action Researcher/Performer in return for her Buddhist Counsel offering.

© Astra Howard 2014