In KnotsDecember 9th 2019.
Soft Foam and yarn.
Winter Cabaret, RSA.
Gut FeelingJanuary 12th 2020.
Self-reflective confessional prose.
Written in response to In Knots, local antifascist activism, The White Pube’s article ‘EAT THE RICH’ and coming to terms with their own disordered eating.
The Body. Eating. Mushrooms.
Bodily. Hunger, desire, craving.
Bodily. Un-comfort, anxiety, rumbling rage.
Feral, Visceral. Impulse.
Hunger and food are political because bodies are political; eating disorders rest at the complex, fertile and pulsating intersection of so many sociological categories. Anorexia is an opaque condition, it always rests behind a veil or a mask; of poor body image, dysmorphia and dysphoria (both, as twin states for some), hyperactivity and busy-ness, of pickiness, sensory disgust, of active refusal, ethical denial, power, control in restriction, purity and the moralism of ~clean eating~, or the inertia of depression. It is all of these things and simultaneously none of them; it flattens them, refracts them and uses them as a vessel. For me, it has been a few of those, never necessarily just one at a time. Sometimes, they overlap and combine into a new form: disgust but make it at the smell, disgust but at the idea of being able to feel your body, disgust but make it at the idea of being IN a body.
- EAT THE RICH, THE WHITE PUBE, ZM 12/1/2020
Leucopaxillus Giganteus is edible and delicious to some but is toxic and causes stomach cramps and diarrhoea in others.
Existing in this ‘risky’ state. A liminality between edible and toxic. Most people don’t know which wild mushrooms are edible or toxic, so it’s a pretty good representation of our relationship with them. Wild mushrooms are surrounded by mystery and anxiety. They can pop up, overnight, seemingly out of nowhere and can look totally alien to us.
I have an intense sensory disgust of mushrooms. Specifically, at the texture of them. Slimy, slippery, squeaky things. Through my work I transform them into a sensory desire, a self-stimulatory, urgent need to touch it, but not to taste. Removing it from the realm of the edible completely.
I also always think of them as unclean, as a fungus growing in dirt, decay and death. I feel anxious at my food touching other bits of food, let alone touching THAT.
I went vegan temporarily, about 4 years ago. I convinced myself that I did it for the right reasons, and there are LOTS of excellent reasons.
‘active refusal, ethical denial, power, control in restriction, purity and the moralism of ~clean eating~, or the inertia of depression’
It’s a hard line to draw, where lifestyle choices become disordered eating.
Disease is supposed to be something uncomfortable. But I found comfort in the control and meticulous planning of when and what I would eat. I didn’t notice the hunger, I didn’t feel in pain, but I was eating less and less things, and I was eating less and less.
I have always been a picky eater, and it’s almost always been a textural discomfort. But I recently taught myself to like onions, and I plan on doing the same thing with mushrooms.
The social act of eating played a major part in this.
I spent most of my Christmas holiday at Kobani House; a leftist squat that stayed open to the public between November and January, in solidarity with freedom fighters in Rojava, as a community centre for the local Kurdish population, as well as anyone else who needed it.
I went to their workshops on ecological socialism and we talked about how much food plays a massive part in making us feel connected to the world, and how the globalisation of food production and distribution problematises this.
We went on a wild hunt together for Yule, consuming a threshold dose of Mckennaii Psilocybe Cubensis (the subspecies of mushroom discovered by philosopher and ethnobotanist, Terence Mckenna), we then went running and howling through the streets, calling upon Freya and Odin to guide our temporary madness. I had an adopted, leftist family for Christmas.
We cooked together. They cooked a lot for me, as I normally stopped by after I finished work, on the way home. It was free food, and I was heavily into my student overdraft, and I couldn’t afford to be picky. Not just because it was free, but because it was made free through love.
‘Capitalist modernity is a system based on the denial of love.’
– Abdullah Öcolan.
I ate mushrooms there. In that old pub. With those communists.
I started to eat mushrooms at home. Recreating the ritual, using the same ingredients. I cut them up so small the shrunk down into nothing, but I ate them.
For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why I was making work about this random mushroom I found, and what it had to do with the knotted, linear forms of the sausage casing/intestines.
But I think this is one of the reasons, tangled up with all the others.