In the performative installation Soak, artist Rujuta Rao presents a story and a constellation of words on either side of a letterpress coaster. The nested story is a reflection on the interdependent growth of humans and plants. In the constellation, Rao identifies the process of soaking in other areas, such as the crucial role it plays in the root establishment of mangrove propagules. Echoing the movement of mangrove propagules, a performance takes place when the coasters are carried home by users, forming a changing constellation of their own.
Soak was commissioned by the Asian American Arts Alliance for their 40th Anniversary Gala at the Manny Cantor Center in NYC in October 2023. The coasters were placed at the tables for guests to use and carry home with them.
Following photographs by Ellen Qbertplaya