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QA CHEW’S BUBBLE TROUBLE was developed by artists Helen Reed & Hannah Jickling alongside Grade 6/7 students, teachers and administrators at Queen Alexandra Elementary. The school is home to the artists’ ongoing project platform, Big Rock Candy Mountain in East Vancouver (Canada), on unceded Musqueum, Squamish and TsleilWaututh territories. Over a nine-month period, artists and students compared texture, natural and artificial flavours, and gum ingredients such as sorbitol and xylitol. Gum was explored as an art material, a confectionery, and even as a public nuisance that gets stuck underneath desks and on sidewalks. Following many months of research and development, it was manufactured by Organic Gum LLC in California and is now being distributed internationally. The resulting kid-designed product, QA CHEW’S BUBBLE TROUBLE, contains a uniquely abstract blend of both fruity and sweet notes, with some sharp and earthy tones.

Big Rock Candy Mountain is a flavor incubator and taste-making think-tank comprised of edible editions, workshops, artist invocations, strange conversations, school ground installations and an Instagram conveyor belt of evolving ideas. Here, creative flavour-making, pop art riffs and explorations in kid-defined ‘persuasive’ language intersect with the larger context of economy, labour, taste-as-power and culturally defined objects of desire.

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