Archives for posts with tag: Art and Food Politics

I’ve just come across the fascinating art practice of Amanda Couch who works in animal innards, pastry, divination and performance. At the recent Oxford Symposium on Food and Cooking she enacted “a divination ritual based on ancient Mesopotamian and Greek extispicy methods” enquiring “Will the UK would invoke article 50?” The answer was no!
I am so looking forward to learning more about her work, thus sharing one post here from her blog as a link for all of us to much more.

Amanda Couch

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This year I have been making pastry interpretations of ancient divination models using shortbread biscuit dough, and rough, puff and hot water crust pastry, for the lids of pies with various fillings.

Whilst visiting the Vorderasiatische Museum in Berlin in February, I came across a clay tablet from Babylon from the 12th-11th century BC, with multiple representations of extispicy models. In order to understand these images, I have  been incising the forms onto the lids of the small pies. The original tablet contains 14 diagrams, some whole, some fragmentary,  which represent the various configurations of the entrails of sacrificial sheep, and what they might mean to diviners.[1]

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Examples of these models were also incised into the lids of the Andouilette pies, which were served as part of the ‘Intestines’ course of my recent Reflection on Digestion performance dinner at LIBRARY London. In the chapter, I was connecting the intestines to…

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Corn as “Bio-Artifact.”  Corn through which to understand the relationship between humans and a biological seed, through the dynamics of history.  Corn as a lens to view the tension between Food as a Commons and Food as Commodity.  Corn as a brilliant idea for an art exhibition.  Beam me to Oaxaca, Scotty!

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I had to be in London, and felt grateful, with my interest in food politics and a lapsed personal art practice, to catch the last day of The Politics of Food at the gallery of the Delfina Foundation near Victoria. Many thanks to Edible Geography for alerting me to this exhibition.

There are many artists who engage with food as a medium and a topic, with the rituals of feasting and fasting, with describing our relationship individually, socially, and culturally to it all.  But I haven’t actually seen much of this work.  I have made pieces that played with issues of domesticity, corporate dominance and food, and I’ve imagined a great theoretical project about nostalgia and ethnicity that I would like to realise someday.  I also have some inchoate but active ideas about climate change and onions that I will try to give time to.  Beyond this, I was just really curious how an art show with the theme “Food Politics” would be conceptualised and curated to represent the diverse approaches of individual artists.

There were amazing pieces here, and they deserve a wider audience. The best review I could find describes the exhibition pretty well, even if in slightly opaque art-crit speak.  I’m compelled to write about the exhibition myself, from the point of view of an artist seeking to understand why some art is both moving and pedagogical (ie, teaches and helps the viewer to think/think through an issue) without being overbearing or ideological or desiring a specific reaction or response.  However, I wouldn’t necessarily be against a piece that sought to campaign– I’m open.

(The quotations in green are from the page that is offered to visitors upon entering the gallery space.) Read the rest of this entry »

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