In the spring of 2016, while working with the futurefarmers and a small group of artists in Madison, Wisconsin, I collaborated on an interactive performance event celebrating and leading up to the futurefarmer’s Seed Journey. The Seed Journey began in September 2016 has since then investigated the origins of seeds and the domestification of wheat from Oslo to Istanbul by sailboat voyage.
Julie Marie Ables, Bradley Meilinger, Elizabeth Younce and I performed a collaborative bread kneading. After kneading, rising and resting of the dough, Ables, Meilinger, Younce and I each invited a participant to tie a quarter of the dough into a knot with us. The four participants then took these dough knots home with them.
The four kneaders brought together the four ingredients for leavened bread: flour, water, yeast, and sugar. Using our feet to knead bread dough, we walked and moved together to form something from separate parts. We were four bodies working together, four cardinal directions coming together; a symmetry was found in four humans working in synchronized chaos to collaboratively make a whole. We separated the dough into four groups to tie four different knots. After allowing the dough and our bodies to rest and rise, four participants were invited help each kneader tie a knot. The four participants took these dough knots home, wrapped with care in a cloth, and then had the responsibility to decide what happened with the knot bread. Was the dough baked, eaten, and shared with others? Did this bread become food for birds? Was it used to make kvass, a fermented bread drink? Did the dough knots become an object of memory, baked and kept, representing collaboration and how our lives overlap and tie together in often strange and beautiful ways?