Top row: Tesseract of Bread, middle row: Strata of Flour, bottom row: Geologic Bread.
The fourth dimension of a tesseract, after height, width and depth, is time.
My inquiry began with the question of how to communicate sustainable agriculture through deep time. Taking inspiration from nuclear semiotics, I traced a fictional global trajectory to a society 10,000 years in the future that relied wholly on industrial food production. These people will depend on the mechanical synthesis of food, and, with no connection to the land that feeds them, will have forgotten sustainable growing.
The project developed through the lens of geology; how to leave an artefact that would last 10 millennia. By looking at the sciences of stratigraphy and arachaology, I began creating artefacts that would communicate across countless generations. One methos used by archaeologists is to analyse the food burnt onto the inside of ancient clay pots. This can reveal the diet of the people who made them, and further our understanding of their food systems.
I also experimented with creating and preserving a sourdough culture in a Winogradsky panel [middle row]. This is an anaerobic environment that enables the microbes in it to live without risk of competition from harmful moulds or bacteria.
Part of my inspiration came from the bog people unearthed from peat bogs. Some are over 2,000 years old, and they are so well preserved that the contents of their stomachs could still be identified, revealing diets of over 60 species of seeds and grains. The bread I created contained 14 species of seeds, legumes and grains sourced from sustainable UK growers, and 6 species of seeds foraged from common meadow plants: mulika wheat, emmer wheat, YQ wheat, squareheads master wheat, spelt grain, rye grain, peas (red fox & badger carlin, marrowfat, whole blues & yellows), field seeds (common sorrel, oregano, yarrow, ribwort & broadleaf plantain, meadowsweet), pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, brown & golden linseed and hemp seed.
Milling the flour and baking a sourdough loaf from it, I then experimented with charring the bread to preserve it in geologic time. This project is ongoing and has developed into two more recent projects, Fortify, and Isolate.