QA CHEW’s BUBBLE TROUBLE is a 2-in-1, limited-run chewing gum. It was developed over the 2017–18 academic year in collaboration with Karen Sandhu’s Grade 6/7 class at Queen Alexandra Elementary School, located in East Vancouver on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. The students included Aiden, Alex, Andrew, Angelo, Anna, Anthony, Celest, Edwin, Ellaine, Ellie, Farhin, Hannah, Jacky, Jaden, Jaymes, Jaykwon, Kaleb, Levi, Lily, Saiyaka, Susan, Tatiana, Tessa, and Yoni.
The gum was designed through a series of classroom workshops with students, teachers, support staff, and guest experts such as food scientist Kathrin Wallace. In these workshops, students compared gum textures, natural and artificial flavours, and standard ingredients such as sorbitol and xylitol. We explored gum as an art material, a confectionery, and even as a public nuisance when it gets stuck underneath desks and on sidewalks. The result is QA CHEW’s BUBBLE TROUBLE, which has a uniquely abstract blend of both fruity and sweet notes, with some sharp and earthy tones. Students have variously described the flavour as “Hello Kitty bubble bath,” “pungent,” and “mysterious.”