Teresia Guest

"Fermentation: A Culture is Cultivating"

Section MS8, Gabriella Hirst

Keywords: food, feminist methodologies, domestic space, photography

I am interested in the role of the Homemaker. I care for the individual who finds it their duty to create a home for others, whether it is a physical, emotional or social space.

The sourdough fermentation process presents the narrative of how culture cultivates and transforms beyond our preconceptions. The linen plaits represent the past traditions and crafts I am attempting to preserve, whilst the emails to my mother are a symbol of honest provision. I am writing to her in her role as the original Homemaker and sustainer. Both the plaits and the emails are baked into bread.

I have gathered inspiration from my family history of providing Homemakers and my own attempts of returning to their roots to perform the same type of activities, but in my case it is not out of necessity but leisure. This is a similar process to the commercials generated in influencer aesthetics such as “Cottagecore”, “Farmcore” and “Countrycore”. Parallel to my nostalgic perspective of my Swedish ancestral village, the reality for its community is that it is haunted by high unemployment figures and an increasingly hostile political environment.

Baking with the sourdough is a continuous act of compiling. It is only through repetition and a growing number of bakes that you can understand the character of the starter. The bread has been intentionally photographed to avoid the macro perspective associated with the influencer aesthetic. Instead the imagery is zoomed out, regarding each bread as a sculpture.

What I have attempted to preserve has fermented and cultivated its own, new culture. The only constant factor is the role of the watchful Homemaker, always there to provide sustenance.