SLSA, more

This blog is extremely embarrassing! Here I am over a year after my last post. I just linked to Patriarchy Hurts and reminded myself that this blog exists. There is a lot of news, there isn’t much news at all–for now I will just say that I hope to see lots of friends at SLSA next month, where I will be on a roundtable panel about the Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies as well as giving a paper on my own later on that same day.

In other news, looks like the ballistic gel sculptures I’ve been hoarding and not exhibiting for over a year now will get their day in the sun next year. More details soon, after things progress and are official. A photo of a dirty one after visiting the Fowler’s Gap firing range:

Having bad sex with the Earth

Reading Elizabeth Wilson’s Gut Feminism tonight…and yesterday a colleague and I sent off a panel proposal called, yes, “Having bad sex with the Earth” (more details on that asap, as soon as we’re accepted–and how could we not be with that title? I predict full house! Free condoms all around!).

Wilson writes about the need for aggression, for bile, in feminist theory, and how the gut thinks. My gut has been thinking a lot about wheat lately. Here are some raw ingredients percolating through my head in the little time I have to stare out the window of the bus and philosophize.
1024px-Landing_of_Columbus_(2)Here is a painting, Landing of Columbus, John Vanderlyn, 1847. I can see two women, naked, dancing or (more hopefully) running away as fast as they can. Otherwise there are mostly men here. Men who have been on a boat for a long time. These men would have been made of hard tack, standard military rations in 1492 and still important to military and paramilitary cultures today.

What’s hard tack? I gave a short talk about it last week. Here’s the abstract:

By tasting and writing an eating body, Extreme Baking invites radical speculative reimagining of the kitchen as a vector for war, peace, and care. We will be hacking our digestion with hard tack, a survival food that sustained European voyages of conquest. White supremacist patriarchal colonial culture continues to reckon with the bodies hard tack made. How might we taste differently?

I served some hard tack while giving the talk. It looked like this:

IMG_20160328_172407-2After a casual remark in the Q&A where I said I wanted to know more about bad sex with the planet, bad ecosex, the kind of sex you have when your stomach isn’t right, coupled with reading Wilson, I’m asking myself, what kind of sex is a body made of hard tack ready to have?

Have we moved on from hard tack, really? How far have we moved on? How do endurance diets inform our sexual choices today?

And I then thought about bushdick. When you google bushdick you come up with a lot of George W. Bush/Dick Cheney content, but I’m not as interested in that as I am in the Australian version of bushdick. After being out in the bush (what in the US we might call “the wilderness” or “the wild”) for a significant length of time, perhaps on a training exercise, Australian servicemen will wrap their penises in cling film before showering. This lets them clean their bodies, but preserves the “bushdick”–in all its filth and stank–for their visit to nearby sex workers.

I won’t speculate too much about bushdick beyond considering, with Wilson, that our guts are thinking organs. And suggesting that we should be more concerned than ever about MREs and the composition of conquering bodies.

Bioart Kitchen, it's alive!

My first book is a real thing in the world.

Bioart Kitchen

A kind former student has started a big archive of tweets, to be dispatched from @BioartKitchen over the next few weeks. Tune in for that preview, and also stay tuned for US and Australia distribution. Garage sale is on in my office, for anyone who knows where that is, $50AUD for the hardback. A great price! Also discount code AN2 through my publisher’s website: http://ibtauris.com/Books/The arts/History of art  art  design styles/Bioart Kitchen Art Feminism and Technoscience.aspx .

The book also has a Facebook page.

Please review the book! There is a lot going on in there and a lot of stuff to talk about. Ask IBT for a review copy!

Neolife SLSA & NEAF

My portrait by Deborah Kelly! Title: Sparkling Lindsay

My portrait by Deborah Kelly! Title: Sparkling Lindsay

I’ll be involved in three events next week in Perth.

SLSA Neolife
Panel: Rituals, Food and Other Anthropologies
10:50am – 12:10pm
Room: Theatre Auditorium (I will be honoured to act as chair, & my paper will be about: “Lively Soil: Nourishing Indigestion with Geophagy”

Then at NEAF, I’ll figure in the education panel with Paul Thomas on the first day (I’ll be doing a writing performance), and I will contribute to a conversation about food during the “unconference” on the second day.

Please please please connect with me! I am so excited to meet everyone and talk about everything! Best way is twitter, to be honest–I’m trying to be present there & will be less stressed about checking it than any of my email accounts. @extremebaking

Instead of another batch of Patriarchy Hurts, have some art

I’ve been feeling another instalment of Patriarchy Hurts, but let’s postpone that. Instead, I’d like to share an early prototype for my new project. The working title, Extreme Baking, inspired my Twitter handle. I’ve been moving away from Extreme Baking and toward Cultures of Home for a title. Not sure yet. & you know what, this is still Patriarchy Hurts. It’s all Patriarchy Hurts.

Here are two images, beautifully photographed by Campbell Henderson, and a quick summary of the project. It’s part of a show in proposal stage at the moment–fingers crossed for good news toward the end of the month about that. I’m thinking of this as my first Australia project–the Anzac biscuit looms large here.

11222928_10101936853886148_6636877318379525547_o 11930898_10101936853931058_5279223659640760929_o

 

Desertification, an ever-warming atmosphere, and technologies of war ignite and activate often-trivialized domestic and bodily interiors—the home, the oven, the microbiota of our guts and hearts, the curl in our hair. Hair dryers, irons, curlers and hot plates heat up handmade enclosures designed to map changing conditions of baked goods as they travel from the United States to the ubiquitous and often-unnamed “desert” in the Middle East.

For soldiers between deployments, the desert has no name. The desert, neglected, anonymous, flown over, bombed, remade in the image of global war and terror, receives care packages from places that colonial power structures allow to be specific like Sydney, Ohio, Denver, Darwin, Phoenix.

Working at the intersection of speculative kitchen appliances, handicraft traditions, and amateur environmental chamber design, I care for, document and theorize multibiomic cultures of love, war and home by investigating the quality and appearance of fungi and molds on homemade cakes and cookies.

Our bodies are reflected in our baking. We send our flesh to our relations, carving off bits and throwing them to big metal birds, as if our comfortable homes are as depleted as the ecologies we reach out to, as if our flesh is all we have to send. We wish to avoid “toughness” or “resiliency” in our cakes, yet such qualities dominate recipes developed for deployment and remake feminine bodies. We twist and harden to support impossible formulations of love. The stranger in your bed unravels across time, space, and trauma. Homemade baked goods travel between multibiomic spaces, elaborate suppositories bringing the cultures of home to their recipients.

Recalling the first human to throw a rotting animal carcass over a wall as an act of biowarfare, these doomed containers become vessels of failure, leakage, contamination, and also home. Cakes collect stories about the people who made them, and the people who they were made for, producing a networked archive of recipes, stories, deployments and itineraries. The interaction of baked goods, microbial life, and blasted landscapes of the anthropocene illuminates connections between live art and food in current atmospheres of technologically-mediated global war.

Where better than Australia, home of the Anzac biscuit, to engage the public in a conversation about Extreme Baking?

Bioart Kitchen in production

At last, my book is off my desk and in production with IB Tauris in London! Yay! Look for it late in the year, not sure exactly when. Also still not sure of the cover image but I will post it when I have it!

Stop by next Friday for First Friday at UNSW Art & Design, which will include the option to visit open studios from current Honours students on the 1st and 3rd floors of F block. I’ve been working with them on their required essays this semester and they are an excellent group of artists, worth checking out.

I’ve been busy teaching and taking care of my mom, who had a stroke last month. She’s made a remarkable recovery from a very severe event. I keep returning to the eclectic meanings we ascribe to the word “stroke”: An act of striking; a blow given or received. The mark left by a blow; a bruise, wound, cut. Point of impact; place hit by a missile. Shock or forcible impact of a moving body; impact or incidence of moving particles, light, etc. the first stroke : the beginning of a war. With conscious metaphor: An act which causes pain, injury, or death; often, an act of divine chastisement or vengeance. A calamitous event; †a ‘blow’ to, upon (a person, institution, etc.). A damaging or destructive discharge (of lightning).

Liquid food @UNSW

I guess the slick way to do this would have been to post this a few weeks ago so as to attract my throngs of internet readers to this event, but that didn’t happen. Today I’ll be doing a farewell tasting session of Dysphagiac–the accompanying essay is currently slotted in to be the epilogue for my book, and I feel like I’m in a bit of a transition…and one way to facilitate transition must surely be letting go of old things. So, barring further exhibition opportunities for my speculative kitchen appliance, today will be Dysphagiac‘s swan song. I made a placemat to accompany the tasting. I’m planning to walk tasters through it in the moment so the citations aren’t the best, but the taste test comes from Diseased Pariah News, and the photo of the bride-to-be with a tube is from Linda Lee’s “Bridal Hunger Games: Losing Weight in Time for the Wedding.” The film stills are from The Matrix, Wall-E, and Sick.

And I put together a slow moving slide deck of inspiring things, again uncredited throughout.

handout

The Multispecies Salon

download

Coming soon! Also there is a beautiful website: http://www.multispecies-salon.org/ (my page)

A new approach to writing culture has arrived: multispecies ethnography. Plants, animals, fungi, and microbes appear alongside humans in this singular book about natural and cultural history. Anthropologists have collaborated with artists and biological scientists to illuminate how diverse organisms are entangled in political, economic, and cultural systems. Contributions from influential writers and scholars, such as Dorion Sagan, Karen Barad, Donna Haraway, and Anna Tsing, are featured along with essays by emergent artists and cultural anthropologists.

Delectable mushrooms flourishing in the aftermath of ecological disaster, microbial cultures enlivening the politics and value of food, and emergent life forms running wild in the age of biotechnology all figure in to this curated collection of essays and artefacts. Recipes provide instructions on how to cook acorn mush, make cheese out of human milk, and enliven forests after they have been clear-cut. The Multispecies Salon investigates messianic dreams, environmental nightmares, and modest sites of biocultural hope.

Contributors. Karen Barad, Caitlin Berrigan, Karin Bolender, Maria Brodine, Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn, David S. Edmunds, Christine Hamilton, Donna J. Haraway, Stefan Helmreich, Angela James, Lindsay Kelley, Eben Kirksey, Linda Noel, Heather Paxson, Nathan Rich, Anna Rodriguez, Dorion Sagan, Craig Schuetze, Nicholas Shapiro, Miriam Simun, Kim TallBear, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Aquascaping!

One of my postgrad students is competing in Sydney’s first aquascaping contest at the Sydney Aquarium and Pond Expo!

I’m looking forward to it, and this is an excuse to post pictures of cool aquariums:

photo1

Cloud & Molecular Aesthetics talk

cloud-main-image_smaller

I’m looking forward to next week’s Cloud & Molecular Aesthetics conference in Istanbul! Mercifully this is my only talk in June.

In other news, I’ve finished my classes and my marking, and am settling into Sydney winter. So far it’s a lot like California winter, or SF summer.