[-empyre-] time is of the essence

Catherine Grau catherine.grau at googlemail.com
Thu Nov 9 15:28:36 AEDT 2017

Hi all,

I can share more about my practice tomorrow, I only have time for a short
post today (sorry).

But I do want to answer your question! So far, food-making, food producing,
and food in general has not been part of my art practice. There are really
great projects out there in that realm and I am inspired by how they can
link aesthetic practices with social / political / environmental activism,
as well as to a microbial / bacterial / living culture level.

For now, as my starting point, what I am interested in is whether the
sourdough can be a tool for working through residual contamination (maybe
in the form of a pro-biotic warrior or ancient knowledge portal), and for
making a living link between environment and the body by way of digestion,
and also a way to engage with a dimension of agents, chemicals, lifeforms
that are not visible to the naked eye.

To be honest, I am still entirely at the beginning of this research, so I
do not know what the outcomes will be...
Marisa and me have been talking about the idea of starting a working group
- so more in the direction of political action and organizing. Maybe the
sourdough bread will just be the reason to come together while we talk
about the potential of boycott. (For example).

I would like to know more about how I can get the residual contamination in
my body tested... So far all I've seen is expensive tests that only measure
one chemical.

Also, if anyone out there following is working with contamination in a
creative practice or as part of activism, it would be great to hear from

More tomorrow!

Catherine Grau
EPA - environmentalperformanceagency.com

On Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 9:59 PM, Renate Terese Ferro <rferro at cornell.edu>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thanks you Catherine and Marissa,
> I am fascinated so much by the sour dough DIY bread baking and somewhat
> nostalgic in fact.  My mother was a sour dough enthusiast and made bread a
> few times per week.  She also tended a large garden, made jams, jellies,
> pickles and canned and froze many of the vegetables that she harvested in
> her huge garden.  This all sounds so nostalgic now to me but she worked at
> home all day incredibly hard from morning to night time.  The frost over
> the last few days prompted me to go out to my own garden to pick the very
> last batch of late lettuce I planted in August. I barely had the time to
> make it to the garden before dark because today was a long teaching day for
> me.  “Rhythms,” “cycles”, are at the heart of this presence as you wrote as
> does “nurturing” and “attention.” For me time is of the essence.
> Catherine and Marisa I’d love to hear about  your art practices and how
> food extends from your research through to your art production.   Some
> month’s ago Amanda McDonald Crowley hosted an entire month of guest artists
> and researchers whose practice revolved around food, nurturance, and the
> environment.  -empyre- subscribers Leila Christine Nadir and Cary
> Peppermint have been doing fermenting and fermenting workshops for the last
> few years. Leila might be lurking in perhaps and could share a bit about
> their work.
> Looking forward to both of you sharing some recent work.  And empyre
> subscribers anyone else doing food as it might relate to contamination?
> Also please feel free to post photos on our FB and twitter pages.
> Best,
> Renate
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Associate Professor
> Director of Undergraduate Studies
> Department of Art
> Tjaden Hall 306
> rferro at cornell.edu
> On 11/8/17, 12:23 AM, "empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on
> behalf of Catherine Grau" <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on
> behalf of catherine.grau at googlemail.com> wrote:
> >----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------Just a quick
> response to Marisa and questioning feasibility of
> >remediation...
> >Maybe rather than remediation, we can think about transformation.
> >Cultivating transformation.
> >
> >On a small scale (for now), recovering traditional / ancient cultures of
> >food-making, such as making bread with sourdough or lievito madre, are a
> >path for disrupting the dominant commercial food paradigms of highly
> >processed foods that cater to global markets and economic viability.
> Rather
> >than having GMO seed monopolies and a long shelf life of flour, we opt for
> >the nutrition and longer shelf life of a handmade sourdough bread, which
> >maybe requires returning to local and small scale grain farming.
> >Besides the glyphosate tangent, what I struggled with most in making bread
> >with natural leaven were the rhythms, cycles, the time commitment, the
> >process of nurturing and attention... The form of presence it entices.
> >Working with an obviously living agent, a living process. But the fact
> that
> >it is difficult to balance DIY bread baking with precarious contemporary
> >urban lifestyle is also what is actually so exiting and promising about
> it.
> >What would it look like to restructure my lifestyle around symbiotic
> >nourishment?
> >
> >I listened to this interview with Anna Tsing today where she speaks about
> >her book "Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet":
> >http://edgeeffects.net/anna-tsing/
> >And, although I struggle, I would love to find the enthusiasm with which
> >she engages the subject of contamination.
> >What I love about her is this radical openness to the concept of change
> >rooted in the celebration of life that is surviving and emerging from the
> >"ruins".
> >
> >I'm just beginning to nurture that narrative. Hope it rises!
> >
> >xo
> >Catherine
> >
> >
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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