Pat Badani – Comestible 7-Day Meal Plan: Food as Text

Pat Badani


This is a proposal for the Art Festival on E2Lit. It is an ecological manifesto in the form of an 84-page Artist’s Cookbook titled “Comestible 7-Day Meal Plan: Food as Text”, published in 2020 in print form, e-book and digital flipbook. Combining alternative publishing with book arts and new media, it denounces everyday social rhetoric by infusing a critical viewpoint on the use of food as a tool for the exercise of power. Urgent geopolitical, environmental, labor, and economic narratives are playfully embedded into the cookbook’s recipes.

Drawing from the tradition of cookbook as art manifesto traced back to the Italian Futurist Cookbook (1932) and to 1960s avant-garde food-themed concepts (Fluxus and New Realism), “Comestible 7-Day Meal Plan: Food as Text” is a playful narrative that intentionally makes use of aesthetic, conceptual, material, and digital forms – including production and dissemination activities – due to relations, features, and processes that embody aspects of digital rational such as hypertextuality, multiplicity, reproducibility and access. Owing its existence entirely to digital devices and networks, the book is informed by non-linear reading practices, creating a context that mingles the boundaries between analog and digital — establishing correlations in electronic hypertext, or e-literature.

Leveraging today’s diet obsessed-culture my ‘plan’ was to mirror and upset the many worlds within worlds pertaining to how food is being shaped by research and markets based on societal shifts and challenges. As if at the edge of language, these recipes are ironic propositions departing from culinary directives typically found in ‘how to’ cookbooks. Rather, my texts explore current societal trends over ‘what we eat’ in recipes titled Changing Climate and Your Greens, Water Stress, Liberalized Trade, Poor Consumer, Cultures and Ferments, Adaptation & Balance. And, by organizing each recipe under headings found in pharmaceutical products (Ingredients, Directions, Uses, and Warnings), I imply that food might be seen as a ‘prescription’ for human and environmental health.

The work combines various mediums and literary genres (the cookbook’s taxonomy and authoritative style, scientific papers, children’s rhymes…) to reshape its own and presents the reader with complex assemblages on entangled phenomena related to ecological and social justice issues. Through typography, color, image and format, the book affirms irreducibility to linear logical propositions with the aim of promulgating new patterns of interpretation. The texts, images, and editorial design are based on logic of separation and connection that invites the reader to participate in a space-time ‘performance’ while experiencing dis/continuity; dis/orientation; dis/jointedness of time and space, entanglements of here and there, of this moment and another. In her book review, media theorist Claudia Pederson concludes: “Attending to the domestic roots of ecology (from the Greek oikos, meaning “house, dwelling place, habitation” and “logy,” meaning study), Badani’s approach remakes the kitchen into an art lab, replaces cooking in the lexicon of DIY bioart, and reverse engineers cookbook protocols to serve timely cultural critique.” (Afterimage, Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism , Vol. 47, Number 4, pps. 78–81 – UC Press)

About the Author(s):

Pat Badani (b. Argentina) draws from the fields of media art, science, and technology to explore the intersectionality of environmental and social justice issues. She has exhibited in museums, art centers, and in dedicated Media Art and Science platforms in the Americas, Europe, and Asia: ISEA, Transmediale, ELO, FILE, Festival Internacional de la Imagen, Currents, Balance-Unbalance, B-Seite Biennial. Her works received awards from the Canada Council for the Arts; the Robert Heinecken Trust Fund; DCASE; Illinois Arts Council; National Endowment for the Arts MacDowell Fellowship, and recognized with nominations by Creative Capital, Art Matters, and AWAW. Badani has participated in international symposia with her essays and talks in over 15 countries.


Independent Artist and Researcher, ISEA Board.


David Thomas Henry Wright, Chris Arnold – The Perfect Democracy


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