Greetings from 35,000 feet

Hello all, I’m taking Glenn up on his prompt to share what we’ve been doing.

I really look forward to getting to know you all, and to finding out about your practices, and learning.

I’ve been making the most of a precious sabbatical from ITP (Tisch / NYU).
The irony is not lost on me (and you no doubt) that I am in a plane writing this post. I’ve tried to consolidate my trips, and as a result have had what looks like a crazy schedule. But it leads me back to NYC all summer, and somehow, that feels really exciting, to be home, near the noise, the backyard, the CSA, and the superfund site.

This spring I  opened a show titled More&More, at bitforms gallery, NY, that explored the oceans as a Pangaea of capital, a huge superhighway of container ships dominated by a sea of code. It opened on Valentine’s Day – where we appropriately served bite-sized global export products, rendered in gray chocolate and soap.

I guess I’m going to talk mostly about food projects in this post, though I also do other things (animation, book and print projects, sculpture).

This month I was in residence at Rice University’s Center for Energy in the Humanities (CEHNS), partly to install a previous collaborative work called Dear Climate (created with Una Chaudhuri, Fritz Ertl and Oliver Kellhammer), and to do R&D on jellyfish, their relation to climate and anthropogenic change, and their remarkable status as predators in deep and ancient seas.

I am developing a set of public art projects around the idea of eating climate change, under a ‘fake’ (I’m not sure if it’s fake or real yet) brand called Making the Best of It: Signal Foods for Climate Chaos.

Towards this project, three chefs in Houston – Ryan Pera, Justin Yu and Ian Levy – put their considerable talents toward creating jellyfish shelf-stable snacks – things like jerky, instant soup packets, and jelly beans.

If you’re into jellyfish look at the work of Juli Berwald; her book Spineless will be out next year. She’s been an indispensible and very generous comrade. And check out the cannonball jellyfish fishery in Georgia. They have a decent-sized processing plant, sending jellies to the Asian markets.

Right now I’m on a flight from IAH to MPL, to a week of brainstorming and design workshops in Minneapolis with collaborators food systems activist, geographer and artist Valentine Cadieux, architect Aaron Marx, and social practice artist and producer Sarah Petersen. While it’s a weird (uncomfortable, convenient, less carbon intensive) gift to be able to work remotely, it is nothing like face to face. I’ve only met 1/2 of the team in person, and we’ve been working since January.

Here’s our most recent project description:

Making the Best of It: Dandelion is a year-long series of site-specific pop up food refuges and community dinners that will span Northern Spark16-17. The project features climate-change enabled (and often unwanted) edible indicator species, in order to engage publics in tastings and conversation about the risks of climate chaos, our business-as-usual food system, and the short-term food innovations at our disposal.

Making the Best of It: Dandelion elected as its poster child the humble dandelion, Taraxacum officinale. Abundant, nutritious, adorable, symbolic, and disliked by lawn-owners, this invasive plant offers a model of eating and thinking about human and interspecies well-being on a variety of levels. It is highly adaptable, does well in disturbed ecosystems, and is of significant interest to a variety of species, from bees to our gut microbiome. In addition, its anatomical response to different environmental conditions makes it an interesting guide for exploring the complexity of climate instability.

At Northern Spark 2016, a custom pop-up ‘refuge’ will offer free servings of dandelion, in food and beverage forms, and accompanied by a graphical system of information, provocations, and recipes.


And on that note… can’t wait to meet you all F2F.

6 responses to “Greetings from 35,000 feet

  1. Marina. Love the food. My Dad always liked to tell the story of gathering dandelions during the Depression in Ohio. The dandelions are part of family legend that no one could leave the dinner table until everything was eaten on your plate. My hated the dandelions. Also – this week, tens of thousands of jellyfish washed up on Florida Atlantic beaches. Velella jellyfish AKA “purple sailors” or “by-the-wind sailors”


  2. Connections: Tattfoo “Nature Matching Colors” project and Lisa Hirmer’s upcoming exhibition about successful urban animals like rats, etc.


  3. …we should invent a new word for these successful urban co-habitants – (rats, pigeons, starlings, grackles, roaches) — opportunistic species is not accurate or at least should include humans. I know it’s puerile, but I LOVE the renaming-animals-by-internet-vote meme that arose n the wake of the Boaty McBoatface vote:


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