Salt Works combines two separate feeding performances. In Salt Lick, I chose to emphasize the mouth as the site where negative fat narratives originate for its abject reminder of bodily boundaries and the prescribed place where the desire for food and sex should be disciplined. Salt blocks are typically used by farmers to supplement their livestock’s diet with minerals and, after being licked repeatedly by the animals, show the smooth peaks and valleys their tongues have eroded into the shiny material. Taking inspiration from these performative sculptures, I sucked and scraped the block to show a reductive process that utilized only my unbridled mouth as a tool. This doomed effort ends early with bleeding, swollen lips, and an unimpressed block of salt. In the six-hour performance Salt Mandala performance, I construct an amateur version of a traditional mandala design with table salt. The practice is meant to cultivate personal awareness through detachment from one’s self, to purge bodily desires and surrender to discipline. In an effort to push against the dualistic mentality, I reconceptualized the ritual to express a reunion between corporeality and incorporeality. The performance can be seen from two different perspectives: one view is from a fixed, objective camera pointing down on the mandala and the other view is seen from a head-mounted GoPro camera that mirrors my shaky, subjective point of view of the process. The sand is usually swept into a vessel when completed and dispersed in a body of water as a symbolic gesture in ephemerality. My mandala was instead swept into a salt shaker and, over time, I sprinkle a little bit on the food I eat.
excerpt from 12-minute (left) and 6-hour performance (right)
3-channel HD video