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.

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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?

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