Saturday, January 09, 2010

494. Photography from World's Easiest Catch ::: The Zen of the Grocery Store ::: The Values of Food

Continuing from

Blog 145, BLURB INCLUDED WITH PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION: The Zen of the Grocery Store (World's Easiest Catch Images, Processed in Time Lag). As I had been processing images, I stumbled across an image set during my frantic videography spree in the Lazy Acres market in quasi-downtown Santa Barbara. I had waited two weeks to receive a go-ahead from the store manager in order to take some footage. It was the first time I ever took pictures in a grocery store, though I seem to go there every single day. I suppose my main epiphany was (1) when I usually enter the grocery store, I am so preoccupied with a to-do list that I completely disregard the (2) sheer QUANTITY of food in an entire store, the FACTORY essence of the store... but placed in this aesthetic ambiance "store front," that you come to forget that you yourself are a part of the machine operation. To me, with a rock crab film or not, these images are timely in the evolution of thinking in my own life, so they are worth showcasing with or without a larger-scaled film. Some of these images can couple the poem / song "Where Stuff Comes From, Where Stuff Goes."

And speaking of which, an old demon comes to mind. I had wanted to make a to-do list, or The Ultimate List of the Values of Food. The first time this thought came up was derived from a conversation between Bahareh, Barry Spacks, and me, over lunch in spring of 2009. Very relaxing occasion, actually. And Bahareh made this excellent "performance poem" meditating on a tea leaf, in which the leaf, and the process of preparing the leaf in the morning was a very solemn sacred process compared to the chaos and rush of the rest of the day, which includes junk information, junk food (well, what's the difference). I told Bahareh that I have a very systematic point of view with food. My relationship with food varies with space and time, and content of my stomach along with the content of the food. So, the most important thing is to have conscious recognition of my relationship with food at the time in order to prevent any form of negative activities to occur (rushed eating, binging-purging, excessive eating of junk food). Then the idea reoccurred to me in Mike Davis' course on writing and landscapes. Ultimately I would like this poem to be VISPO a systematic list on the values of food. Values are not always mutually exclusive; some overlap and intertwine.

The Values of Food
and the Intricate Coupling of Physical and Mental Consumption, Metabolism, and Excretion.
A Meal for Thought.

Why I eat food. A question every "anorexic" will eventually have to grapple with.

>> Medieval Torture. Being gluttonous at the buffet every Saturday afternoon. Your mother forces you to gargle raw garlic and let it sit in your throat for ten minutes. "The pain is there because it's killing all the bacteria!" (age 10, starting off on the wrong foot, hence the beginning of a very severed, sour relationship with food)

>> Survival-Replication. If you don't eat (for a month), you die. If you do eat, then you can survive, grow, and replicate on to the next generation. [reptilian, preservation, reproduction] (age 17, first-hand experience)

>> Origins-Evolution. Your body and mind evolved to eat so your body can stay in one piece to grow and reproduce... and die at a later date, but your progeny continue on [existential] (age 19, Sam Sweet's evolution course)

>> Hunting and Gathering. Food tastes good if you earn it. You went through the labor of catching your own prey instead of mosing into a grocery store and purchasing some human catc chow (I started becoming a fisher girl in February of 2009, age 27, though I went duck hunting once at age 26)

>> Environment-Ecology. You are the summation of elements of your environment. Your body and mind is a unique aggregation and assemblage of elements derived from your environment and you need to continue replenishing the assemblage with more new elements to stay as one large chemical sack [existential] (age 19, Miriam Polne-Fuller's Shoreline Preservation course)

>> Hunger. Your more basal "primitive" part of your mind contains a subliminal neurophysiological "sensor" that beckons the state of "hunger," if your mind is actually operating normally (my sensor shut off and did not experience hunger, until around age 22, my appetite came back)

>> Medicinal-Digestive-Medical. Drinking tea for your cold. Drinking coffee after a rough meal at the Hometown Buffet (my parents still do it!). Making home-made chicken noodle soup to deal with your throat infection. Drinking Gatorade for lost electrolytes after a throw-up incident (age 22)

>> Mind Alteration. Stimulation. Depression. Though I'm more drunk when I'm not drunk, I am a pretty altered state simply being normal, or on coffee. I become boring, open, and vulnerable when I'm on beer, but my thoughts slow down with weed. Recreational drugs were never of interest because starvation provided the highest of highs. Starvation + lack of sleep + lack of exercise + computer in your own room = 5days-1week intellectual trance, enlightenment, altered state of reality. Starvation also places my body in a "fighting, hungry lion-tiger syndrome, so my body and mind wants to keep chugging and performing for over 10-12 hours of the day) (starting age 19)

>> The Sleeping Pill. Using food to slow down your conscious mind and transform your body into a more visceral, mind-numbing state in the evening. Konks out the brain for sleeping (starting age 19)

>> Exercise Prevention, But I Don't Want to Sit on My Xss in Front of the Computer Syndrome. Eating a splendid morning breakfast, like strawberry waffles at Mimi's cafe on a Saturday morning will prevent you from being able to sit down and do any work for the rest of the day. Lazy activity. (starting age 24)

>> Study-o-holicism. Particular low calorie, high caffeine food that allows one to consume all day like insulin IV drip, and clench your jaw (like with bubble gum), allowing long-term "intellectual trance." Three-meals-a-day-syndrome does not exist! Coffee, soda, bubble gum, wrthers original, and the like. (starting age 18)

>> Safetys and Comforts. Eating foods that are familiar and similar to your known universe of taste buds when placed in a foreign environment, like another country, or even your neighbor's house. (starting age 18)

>> Rewards. Pavlov's Dog. Rewarding yourself with a sweet item to symbolize that you made it through the day... for example yesterday, I had a hot chocolate at Starbucks! (starting age 22)

>> Subconscious Stress Diversion, Divulsion, Amplification. Stress and fast-paced lifestyles can construct a sloppy mentality with all habits. Binging on an entire half gallon of ice scream late in the night is a great likelihood (which was my entire year at UCLA age 22-23).

>> Social Gatherings. Food foraging and consumption as a common endeavor; an opportunity to catch up with family and friends during this window of time, especially during the holidays! (The first time I could sit down and have a meal with friends at a restaurant was around age 21)

>> Diversity. Since most of American prepared food has become "one giant cafeteria of dormfood" to my tastebuds, I have come to appreciate home-made cooking, and the meals of local restaurants, bakeries.

>> An Art Form. Cuisine. The pleasure of extra time devoted to preparation. The subtleties of flavors, tastes, aromas, and the aesthetic of preparation and presentation.

>> An Exact Science. Ecologists tend to be those who like to study their food a bit too much before they eat their meals. Hence, very bad table manners, a laboratory of poking around as an intermediate stage (age 22)

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