ROZ CREWS + PALLAVI SEN:
one foot in broth, one hand holding yoursFEBRUARY 2018
Lately I’ve been thinking about how I use (and abuse) my time each day. I’m wondering where my list of priorities comes from, and I’m asking myself to consider which things I do to sustain life—and which things I do because I feel manipulated, confused, excited, angry, lazy or afraid.
When Adele asked if I wanted to create an exhibition for Corner Office, I was excited about the opportunity because the idea of presenting “work in progress” felt like a chance to think about my day-to-day interactions, to question my daily progress. The notion of progress makes me wonder what I’m doing to stay alive—are my actions sustainable, both for myself and for other people?
I made a list of things I think sustain me: what happened while I wrote this list? I realized that I’m not always sure if an action is sustaining me or inadvertently causing a problem. To really know, I have to study each activity, each interaction, and each outcome, sort of a waiting game. I noticed that food and water are the two things that are undoubtedly keeping me alive. Tangerines, bananas, and the smell of lavender currently keeping me safe from falling snow. But what else?
In my list, I privileged moments when other people made food for me or offered me water—it feels like life can only go on when someone else cares, when there’s another person in the world making an effort to keep me alive. Maybe because they love me or maybe because I’m just another person and they can relate to my humanness. Either way, the relationship isn’t sustainable unless I’m giving something in return. As I started thinking about this, I knew I couldn’t make an exhibition about progress and sustainment by myself.
Considering the act of eating as the primary thing that sustains me, I settled into an influential moment when everything revolved around a table. I spent two weeks at Mildred’s Lane learning about walking as an art practice, and while I was there, I met Adele Ball (the co-curator of this exhibition) and Pallavi Sen (my collaborator for the exhibition). During the time between discussions and activities related to art, we cooked meals, swam, baked cakes, slept, and went on long walks. We often sat around a table to share food or just be together.
While we were there, Morgan Puett taught us about her approach to organizing life as if each activity is part of an ongoing art project that will never end. One morning I asked Morgan
where the spoons were in the shared kitchen, and she responded to my inquiry with a direct suggestion—she told me that before I ask for something, I need to explore all the possibilities on my own, exhaust all options; if I absolutely could not solve the puzzle alone, she would be there to work on it with me. Her statement felt empowering, like a reminder to trust myself and also believe in my community. There is something so powerful about cohabitating, working together while also “living together”—it helps me remember that everything is connected and each problem solved leads to more understanding and growth. With Pallavi and Adele, I learned about the potential sustainability of life lived as art, and I experienced the impact of infusing tiny details of life with the intention and care I might put into an art project.
During that time, I watched Pallavi orchestrate amazing meals with what looked to me like effortless grace and confidence. The same hands she uses to carefully craft a large-scale drawing, or sew a garment, she brings to stirring and chopping in the kitchen. At the time, I was terrified of the kitchen. I wasn’t exposed to the importance of nutrition as a young person, and I had not yet cultivated an appreciation for elegance as part of the cooking process. I was swept up in the magic of making a meal, but nevertheless, totally intimidated despite Pallavi’s openness as a teacher and a friend throughout the process.
All of this is to say that I see this exhibition in Corner Office as a kind of public reunion for the three of us—almost three years later we’ve all evolved and grown more conscious of our own strengths as artists and as humans, and I hope this project can highlight the value of working together to make more sustainable futures for ourselves. Adele and Ava are offering us the space, I will use my research and reflections about self-sustainment and relationships built through the act of eating together to set the scene with handmade table cloths and cloth napkins strewn throughout the space, and Pallavi will cook an intimate meal for the four of us using a recipe from her new cookbook, “Dead Planet Cook Book: An anti packaging, anti food waste, pro clean plate, pro small budget, climate aware cooking project for the rst time cooks, living in the Anthropocene,” which we will launch as part of the exhibition. Together is definitely better, so join us for this celebration of taking time to think about how best to sustain yourself and the people around you (friends, strangers, enemies, and otherwise).
LUNCHY! Is an anti-trash, anti-foodie movement towards self reliance, through eating at home. Initially, an effort towards minimising one’s consumption of disposable packaging for the period of a year, the project has come to include 1. quick, looping, cooking videos on Instagram, 2. documentation of sources for wholesale ingredients, 3. community cooking workshops, 4. a manifesto, and 5. a backyard hoop house - for growing the greens that go onto one’s plate.