Published in association with the exhibition Geophagy, 16 December-15 February 2018, Centre of Contemporary Art Toi Moroki (CoCA), Christchurch. 28 April-27 May 2017, GusFisher Gallery, Auckland.
Foreword by Romy Willing: ‘Cook little pot cook: Ruth Watson and capitalism’s geophagic moil – a letter’ / Allan Smith: ‘Many hands: Ruth Watson’s Unmapping the World’ / Josephine Berry: ‘Layers and entanglements: Four artworks in Geophagy’ / Rebecca Boswell: ‘Whirling and looping: ‘Unmapping memories in Ruth Watson’s Geophagy’ / Bruce E Phillips.
Geophagy, the practice of consuming dirt and clay, can be read as a metaphor for our overpopulation, consumption, and destruction of the Earth. Used by some indigenous peoples in cooking to absorb toxins from indigestible plants, geophagy can also be read as a more positive reference to our relationship to the Earth, and to indigenous knowledge; a conscious and purposeful consumption.
Auckland-based, Canterbury-born Ruth Watson’s multifaceted exhibition is acutely about the present moment, speaking to global politics and environmental issues. Through a sprawling installation, video, audio and printed works, Watson takes a critical look at the world today and seems to suggest that it’s not clear what we should do, collectively or individually. With so many issues and paths of action vying for our attention, the immeasurable size of the problems we face, and the systemic causes out of our control, taking action can feel overwhelming.
Describing the world as being in a state of “dystopian present”, Watson reflects on the complexity of our relationship to the environment, and the incongruity of living in a place that we are destroying, without any clear means to unify and prevent that destruction.
ISBN 9780473442323 Card cover with flap
115 pages : colour illustrations ; 150 x 200 mm
$30 including GST