Pastoral and industrialized scenery are seeded throughout my work as I explore the folkloric draw of home cooking and traditional craft processes as well as the excess of mass production. My work examines the need to make things with and of my body in order to be worthy of existing. This role of selfless giver or vessel, traditionally prescribed to women, becomes nearly cannibalistic when entwining the body with food preparation and other domestic rituals. I use the body as a material, often capitalizing on its heat, motions, and secretions. I’m interested in making products and processes that join this existing market, where bodies, especially women’s, are required to become both consumers and objects for consumption.
Maintaining a sourdough starter is a symbiotic process, as care is provided in exchange for sustenance. “The Nomadic Bread Belt” positions a sourdough mixture close to the carrier, allowing their body heat to create a comfortable environment for the starter and the dough as it proofs. The piece is an aid to yeast foraging, as the mixture of flour and water captures wild, ambient yeast from the air and the wearer’s own body. In the end, a site specific loaf of bread is produced that reflects both the identity of the carrier and the environment in which it was produced.
In the piece, “Soup Shoes”, the maker’s feet become an essential ingredient in the recipe. The cook must sit by the pot of hot water while wearing the bouillon foot apparel and kicking her feet back and forth.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Christina Dietz is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, where she received a BA in psychology and a BFA in Sculpture. With sculpture, video and performance, she manipulates familiar objects and processes that are often associated with food production and domestic rituals. Dietz uses food as a metaphor to analyze power dynamics and societal roles.
At Penn State, Dietz received the Apes Valentes Undergraduate Research Award. This funding allowed her to conduct a project that involved a local farm, beekeepers, actors, a videographer, and the department of entomology. The final 5’x 4’ x 9’ Bee House was installed on campus and contained a video and two live honey bee colonies.
After graduation, she received the Windgate fellowship which enabled her to investigate traditional craft processes and how they intersect with rituals of the body. Dietz participated in a variety of international workshops including traditional leather shoemaking in London and joss stick making in Malaysia.
Dietz is the co-founder of Gxrl on Grill, a collaborative that focuses on food, feminism, and the body. Gxrl on Grill curated a series of events in Brooklyn that featured video and performance artists who use food in their work.
Most recently, Dietz was an artist in residence The Meet Factory, Prague in the Food Studio program. While there, she hosted collaborative sauerkraut making and pickling workshops where participants reflected on thoughts and actions that sustained them through the past year of lockdowns and isolation. She was exploring the idea of a collective exhale which frames both the action of sighing and the process of fermentation as methods of resilience.
Dietz currently teaches 3rd grade woodworking and is the afterschool and auxiliary program coordinator at a private k-8 school in New Jersey.
© Christina Dietz