#letter to the organizers
#refusal of the call
Dear Theo, dear Hannes,
I occasionally thought for a year now on what to do in the food trimester. I have a lot of ideas for future works and executed quite some things already for the sections pain, environment, death, body and belief.
Why is there no food idea coming up?
Maybe because my opinion on food is already very much formed and I am a certified nutritionist myself. So, in terms of finding things out (what is at the core of my practise as an artist) in a very short amount of time in a framework of a 2 day workshop might not seem to be the appropriate format for me in regards to seriously make an impact with my / our work.
For me, looking at food in terms of health is key. It is one of the main determinants for being healthy or ill. Learning about the nutritional content of food, the emotional and spiritual values, how the digestion system and biochemical processes in the body work, how we can cure diseases by changing food habits, listening to our own body reacting on certain foods, being aware of the origin of food, about animal rights and agricultural politics etc. needs either a strong will or desperation and/or just simply
– time and (access to) knowledge.
I have some difficulties in finding the value of this workshop in regards to my standpoint on food. I am not questioning the workshop in general because it will be about connection, coming into action, having a good time, sharing etc. which are great qualities in itself. But my obstacle is seeing this outcome not as a short sighted „yet another entertainment commodity/art/design/event“ on food that might leave me at the end with a „so what?!“
Of course, things like a short preparation time and a certain obligation to participate even though it might not be the area of research or interest right now, also come into play here.
What I am furthermore concerned of is how do we really tackle the pressing questions of child obesity, increasing illnesses caused by wrong nutrition, world hunger, ecological downfall, gene patenting monopoly, animal suffering, lack of respect for taking time for the consumption and preparation of food, lack of sensibility, lost intuition, etc.
In this part of the world we invent things like pop-up restaurants, food weeks, overpriced feel-good food and trendy cook books – accessible for the well-off and hip few – as superior successors for outdated cooking shows ‘for the ones who still watch TV‘. Then there are some design actions of cooking with/for/by the marginalized communities, combining Syrian refugee recipies with home-cultured Spirulina crackers in an uebercool scaffolding wooden structure etc. You can argue that every of these actions raise awareness which is a good thing and yes, they communicate. But do they really? In what sense? To what kind of audience? How long lasting is all this?
At the end of the day, still most people go home with the same feelings of guilt and confusion about their eating habits and what not, still haven‘t learned how to connect with themselves and the produce on a daily basis.
Food to me is more serious than that:
Eating healthy needs long-term engagement and a lot of DIY trial and error
Eating healthy needs learning from your body and getting support from experts
Thinking of the workshop and the impossibilites of it for me:
Of course my brain can also make up things like
– I want to create a hypermegagalactichydrogenicmolecuarsupersmoothie out of all superfoods that are available on planet earth and then drink it and see if I die or fly –
but that needs money, which is not there, and time for serious preparation– that at the moment I am not willing to invest because I think it is just an entertaining idea, not more.
To really make a change, I feel experts need to go to schools, kindergardens, teach kids from early age about delicious, inexpensive, healthy food. Bottom-up education. I was offered such a job in Berlin and I didn‘t take it. I felt that this is not my call somehow at the moment.
I could surely hold lectures about water, dairy products, meat, digestion system, acid-base metabolism, etc. or do (full weekend long) vegan/raw...cooking courses. This feels like something that has to be done but it also feels like something else than being an artist. (#expert)
I would be happy though to host and moderate an event in the future (at Cure Park or aligned with the summer program at the VU Hortus) of bringing together different experts on one table that each propagate diets like Ayurvedic, Raw Food, 5 Elements Cooking, Paleo, Macrobiotics, Maznazdan... to really find out overlapses and distinctions in each of those teachings and to think about other program that really lets the audience engage and change.
(#curator, #research, #social sculpture)
But for now I refuse once again the activist, the teacher, the curator and the designer side in me. What has the artist to offer (??) more than resistance und uselessness right now?
As an (unpaid and uncommissioned) artist I don‘t need to make things neither better or exciting nor functioning or shiny.
The only valuables/variables I have are my conscience, my gut feeling, my criticality, my sensibility and thankfully the freedom of speech to use all that with courage.
Therefore I herewith want to inform you:
I refuse to contribute to the workshop.
I refuse to eat all the fancy food that will be provided.
I refuse to function.
I will not take anything in. I will not put anything out.
Call it however you want:
Hunger strike. Fasting. Detox. Cleanse. Castigation.
All my best to everyone and bon appetit
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