Lesson Fourteen: Portable endings. Bridget Currie


In 2007/08 I lived in Japan for a CCA Kitakyushu fellowship. I initially wanted to research differences between Japanese and Western aesthetic thought around time and decay. I ended up feeling fascinated by the rich tradition of Japanese food preservation and pickling (Tsukemono). It seemed the act of transforming a raw food into something ‘other’ through the application of time, pressure and salt had a metaphoric resonance with ideas of flux, time and weight that I was exploring in my sculptural practice. This research led to many questions: Is a pickled food alive or dead? Or an in-between state? What is the difference between rotting and fermentation? All questions of cultural value that largely fall within aesthetic definitions of perception.

I recently spent time in Lithuania at a residency at Rupert. Lithuania also has a strong tradition of fermentation and I have continued my research there. This lecture will focus on the principals of lacto-fermentation and will examine how these domestic techniques can connect with ideas of time, preservation and productive pressure. We will conclude the day with a practical workshop producing a lacto fermented pickle.

To take part in the workshop, bring a lidded glass jar to hold 300-400 grams.

Bridget Currie calls her practice sculpture although works may involve performance, writing, food and painting. The things she makes reveal a curiosity about how the forces of life and death act to make the world. For the last ten years she has been building a highly personal lexicon of forms and actions with materials such as wood, bread, salt, clay, cloth, vegetables and their qualities. Currie has a long held interest in Animism as a parallel system for understanding art objects. She investigates the borders of aliveness and presence through abstract sculptural practice. Objects may be visitors to the animate world and protagonists on equal terms through practices like puppetry and performance (partners in a movement), staging (the arena is set) or fermentation (alive on a cellular level).