Microbiome Rift

Microbiome Rift

In her book Aesthetics of the Familiar: Everyday Life and World-Making, Yuriko Saito poses embracing more misshapen or ugly vegetables. Approximately 1/3 of fruits and vegetables are discarded before they arrive at grocery stores for aesthetic rather than nutritional reasons. The selective way that vegetables are perfected and curated for public consumption creates an idea of what a vegetable is that does not reflect their reality or honor the thousands of years that these vegetables have spent evolving. It is an intervention that embodies a set of values we are asked to unconsciously absorb. We grow up seeing food through someone else’s lens. Vegetables have become neutered through the metabolic rift, wherein late capitalism interferes with natural ecologies. How does this impact our bodies, specifically our microbiomes? Having had a plant based diet for 25 years, I obsess over my microbiome, how it has been damaged, rebuilt, and what bacteria feed on, what bacteria are good for one’s gut and what bacteria have ended up in the wrong area because the migrating motor complex isn’t sweeping food where it needs to be swept. The sculptures in this show insist upon entropy, the relationship between skin and skeleton, and decomposition. The critic Victor Shklovsky says the purpose of art is to “make the stone stony.” This is my hope for the show: to present a vision of vegetables that is admittedly an intervention with nature, admittedly subject to the artifice of the tools and materials I am using, but one that at least challenges or complicates the intervention that capitalism is making all the time.

  • Space & Installation Arts
  • November 2-7, 2020
  • Herbert F. Johnson Museum
  • Grace Sachi Troxell
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