This index presents work begun in 2019. All pieces are considered to be in-progress unless designated otherwise.
MFA Thesis Show - Massart 2015
What are the common and uncommon practices of two labor-intensive communities centered on food production: a farming village in Senegal, West Africa, and a corporate chain restaurant in an East Coast city of the United States? Materials from the chain restaurant are laboriously measured, quantified, and arranged to evoke the crops, soil, and landscape of the Senegalese farming culture. How does one reconcile the enormous gulf of production, value, and use between such different cultures, places, and producers?
I began with materials destined for a landfill that I collect daily from my job as a waiter. The two-meter square hanging Plexiglasspieces organize unused popcorn, cashed out checks, and my own order notes. Sorted, mounded, and designed restaurant waste are repurposed to evoke the village market and gardening environment. These include pulverized and melted crayons from kid’s menus, one-time use K-cup coffee saved in small portion food prep bags, and unused popcorn.
I spent three years in the village of Kékéressi in Senegal as a sustainable agriculture Peace Corps Volunteer. I was tasked with weighing the harvest to determine the crops overall yield, and thus its value to the village, through the measure of a two-meter square. Similar strategies are used in my creative practice in which the dimensions of found materials are carefully considered for their size, quantity, and arrangement, emphasizing the labor inherent in the production of food. Whether alluding to the feel of the village, its marketplace, and the agricultural environment as my experience remembers them, or the daily work of being a chain waiter with all its emphasis on speed and quantity resulting in a carelessness about waste, these pieces challenge our understanding of the hidden world of food production. Through this installation, waste materials transform to address abundance, attempting to tell, not just my story, but a human story of value and preciousness.