Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester invited me as part of a collective of ten Manchester-based artists, to explore the concept of ‘Life Friendly’ in a two-week residency. http://www.wearelifefriendly.blogspot.com / http://www.lifefriendlypractice.wordpress.com
I wanted to explore the benign potential of “slow”, thinking about giving ourselves, our projects and others space the time to germinate and grow organically, especially in the context of city living. Inspired by Chinese “thousand-year-old eggs”, my medium was experimental cooking and fermentation, a counterpoint to ‘fast food’. I focused on basics – making suggestions and models available to anyone, using low cost and easily found ingredients and simple kitchen utensils, and cheap low-carbon cooking methods. I wanted to make something that required regular attention and nurture but also did a lot of activity and development on its own, to reach beyond fast/instantaneous production in art to make something more considered in a more natural process.
During the residency on International Slow Art Day (www.slowartday.com) we held an open studios event where I offered visitors, gallery staff and the other artists in residence a small feast of slow-made food and drink, including 10-day sourdough, Amish Friendship Bread, cress and radish leaves grown in eggshells, and ginger beer; 3-day cheese and marbled eggs in experimental flavours; and scrambled eggs in tights. I also constructed a wonderbag from found materials which helped keep things warm while fermenting during the fortnight, and on the last day gave away grow-your-own cress in eggshells kits, sourdough starters and amish cake batter to enthusiastic new homes.
Photos by Squirrel Nation and Agata Alcaniz.