The project manifests in an interstitial space between performance, artist lecture, and participatory sculpture, engaging the recipe as a type of choreographic instruction and record of historical and cultural significance. Using corn as a central material, Zea reflects on contemporary forms of economic domination in the Americas.
The workshops and installation reference the role of corn in global economies; how this ancient crop has been transformed from an essential food to one of the most important currencies in the world, now produced primarily for raising livestock and the creation of ethanol fuel. The contextual installation investigates various appropriations of indigenous iconography by financial institutions and multinational corporations—elements draw from existing symbolism in the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica and northern South America, as well as the brand identities of companies including Starbucks, HSBC, Citgo, and Chevron, that are engaged in economic colonialism throughout Latin America.
Workshop participants will prepare dishes made from ground maize—arepas, gorditas, and pupusas—each a variation on a similar preparation of flatbread in countries including Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, and El Salvador. These recipes all hold specific meaning in their locations of origin, however there is common confusion and generalization among these foods when consumed in the United States, reflecting a perceived homogenization of diverse Latin American cultures. These artist-led events engage the tradition of cooking and mealtime as an opportunity for collectivity, knowledge-sharing, and collaborative creation.