VENTRE E FUOCO

I stayed at Villa Tereze (Pergola) for a few days, during which I scoured the surrounding area gathering elements evocative of that locus. I met local producers from whom I obtained raw ingredients which, with the wild herbs that I collected, were baked in the wood-fired oven of the villa in earthenware pots made and loaned by local artisans. The elements gathered – tiles, river-smoothed pebbles, brambles, bamboo canes, branches of trees, melon skins – were mixed with bread dough made from spelt flour and baked in the oven. I collected leaves and fruit from a walnut tree. The walnuts were mixed with the dough and then wrapped around cut branches and lined with the leaves. After baking, a dangling bell was attached to one end of the branches, while the other end was hung from the walnut tree. To eat, the guests break off pieces of bread from the dangling forms creating a sound landscape that echoes a transhumance context. This residence in fact followed a long period of research in the Sardinian hinterland, where the tinkling of the sheep bells accompanied me in the silence. The food, cooked in the earthenware pots and the loaves, was served at a table under the walnut tree and eaten around a fire.

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However, an inclination exists, far from style, that passes from the body and its awareness of being able to receive. The inclination to sabotage the code and disobey the solitary advantage. In this sense, food and the practice of cooking, intended as care for the feast, is able to include and undertake the possibility of the gift, which is typical of a feminine dimension of cooking, more attentive to abundance for all than accumulation for the few. It was an offering to Mother Earth that opposed capital, to the womb of the land and the woman that cared for the common good, transforming excess into new life and offerings. Bringing balance to the absolutist and anthropocentric male logic thus means giving life to new practices of imagination and resistance, or new forms of care based on emotions. Sheep also made it impossible to accumulate capital in the fields, in that too many of them put their food supply and the entire community at risk. Therefore, the economics of the home, or better yet of the territory, based on grazing was intrinsically sustainable, because disproportionate growth beyond real need would end up being counterproductive for all. Thus the relationship also becomes the territory where we may “deny pure knowledge in order to maintain that all knowledge is impure, marked and situated.”

Text by Matteo Binci

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