Food Fight in the Agro-Industrial Culture Complex
Most people’s relationship with food is through sensory gratification; mostly through taste but also through scent, sight, and texture. But food is also a material that occasionally transforms, and when it does, our relationship to it changes as well. A once-delicious meal that has been left too long in the back of the fridge turns repulsive and reminds us that food – like all organic matter – is equally subject to growth and decay.
This sensory inversion of material relationships is echoed throughout everyday life and popular culture. Economic exchanges, for example, are marked by the swapping of scraps of green paper for objects which maintain an actual use-value; among the most notable are clothing, shelter, and, of course, food. This material inversion is again echoed in consumer choices at the local market place and in the factories and laboratories of the industrial sector. We see potential poisons turned into useful household products, and we also see innocuous everyday materials used in the production of weapons - either at the hands of terrorists, nations, or mischievous pranksters. From food-fights, to egging, to stink bombs, to the classic banana-in-the-tailpipe, foods have been used not merely as culinary ingredients, but also as ingredients for contestation.
For Bombs Away, we are directly referencing the aforementioned material inversions and the potential for foods to be transformed in a critically engaged capacity. Specifically, we are presenting one dozen food “grenades” packed in a straw-filled military container. Each “grenade” is created by filling an egg-shaped, clear acrylic martini shaker with the ingredients for the legendary “chicken bomb” – an odiferous cocktail made by mixing together a grocery list of dietary staples (milk, eggs, sugar, meat, and bread).
As part of the exhibition at ISE Cultural Foundation, Detourned Menu: Food in the Form of Activism, this project is an active articulation of a unique cultural context. Specifically, it simultaneously references the gallery’s economic ties to ISE America (one of the largest and most controversial factory farms for egg production) while also speaking to the larger socio-political theater of conflict that ties together culture, economics, global conflict, and consumer choices.
Over the course of the exhibition, Bombs Away will begin to fester and stink, creating a sensory experience that makes it difficult to ignore the ties between cultural production and political/economic reality.
*For Bombs Away we used only responsible-produced ingredients including organic bread, raw sugar, and chicken, eggs, and milk from free-range, grain fed, hormone-free animals.
Do you want to make a big stink about a boss, landlord, school principal, or foul institution? It's easy! Simply combine these ingredients in a mason jar, tupperware, or drink bottle and hide it in a good place:
- 1-2 cups of milk
- 1 egg
- a chunk of bread (or packet of yeast)
- a few pieces of raw chicken
- and a couple of teaspoons of sugar
Then sit back and let Time and Nature take care of the rest!