SS*SR Cookbook 2018
“Spinebone Soup and Stuffed Rabbits” manifests itself as a speculative cookbook. Following the tradition of modernists’ experiments with collages, it reads a concept of food as text, glues it together with the aspects of memory, conditions of ideology and visual culture of the present. The shape of the book, which can be described as an inverse or wrongly assembled magazine, enhances the ubiquitous message of the omnipresent ideology devouring any nutritional value.
This cookbook is a collaboration between me and an artist and graphic designer Nick Teplov. The role of typography is equally important as a role of imagery and text. By its redundancy it emphasizes exacerbates ideological aspect studied through my whole work.
Comparing food with a language I’m following the Dada tradition and pay a big attention to collage. Cecilia Novero in her book Antidiets of Avant-garde writes about Max Ernst’s drawing of the bone-glue preparation depicting a woman lying on a surgical bed, wrapped in bandages. «Ernst literally transfigures, that is, gives shape (figure, image) to, the alchemical process marking any visual experience and any transformation of matter, as it also occurs through the stomach. He associates glue (colle in French) with collage. /…/ Boiled bourgeois in paraffin condenses the recipe for Dada’s cannibalistic poetics of disgust and indistinction that informs these poets’ will to devour the bourgeois word and then discard it».
This I take as an intro to my series where I try to make a distinction between ideology word and food’s representation. I start with a culture of glossy magazines, inverting them and exposing the flip textual side. Later you see how the idea of inedibility will become the core of my work.
Driven by the idea of shell or the representation without any nutritional value, I write speculative recipes focusing on the real ingredients of survival kitchen. In the times of severe hunger, as well as in the times of abundance and overconsumption, authoritarian figures of verbal prohibition are acting due to similar rules.
“Spring Paradox Rolls” – arousing and refreshing, to share with your dears. Wrap rolls tightly to demonstrate clenched family ties. A tablespoon of this, a tablespoon of that. Make the sauce hot and liquid – to dip in. Keep citric acid powder at hand. For the filling, slice and chop that thin so you can see through. Take 20 cm round papers to wrap. Train your fingers nimble. Wrap a roll. Wrap a roll. Dip paper in water for not more than triple seconds and wrap in sweet, healthy filling as tight as you can.
Working with the idea of inedibility and misuse, I convey this approach to my medium. I cast sculptures using the ingredients described in survival kitchen (like sugar, earth, glue, gelatin, sawdust, etc.) to use them for photography. Inspired by some archival material (in my case, it is a notorious cookbook «The Book of Tasty and Healthy food» - a monument of Soviet alimentary ideology) I make 3D replicas of historical illustration, displacing their archival context to the post-internet visual culture. In the book Animal Capital. Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times (2009) Nicole Shukin pays an extensive attention to the role of animals in the film industry. I keep the matter of gelatin (as an animal flesh component) in mind, working with an archive of Soviet cinematography, from the propaganda movies of 40-50’s to the late Perestroyka, searching for the aesthetics of food representation. Glueing together the film stills I am erasing out the subject of my research leaving only secondary indexes: tableware or hands posture.