Salt over Gold

by Kristyna and Marek Milde

As part of the exhibition

FoodShed: Art and Agriculture in Action 

Curated by Amy Lipton

At CR10 Arts Contemporary Art Project Space, by Hudson, NY

August 8 – September 6, 2015

Salt over Gold

Kristyna and Marek Milde, Salt over Gold, 2015

step and repeat wall, red carpet, bronze stanchions, 8′ x 10′ x 4′

The project Salt over Gold by Kristyna and Marek Milde explores the unglamorous but essential components of food production connected to agriculture. The project is a tribute to the overlooked elements of the process of farming. It follows the narrative of growing our food to bring awareness to the parts, which remain mostly out of sight of the regular food consumer. The project adopts the aesthetic and language of an official V.I.P. celebrity entrance with a red carpet, stanchions, and step and repeat wall to examine the key elements of the process that produces our daily essentials in contrast to pop and corporate culture.

The step and repeat wall, which normally features the names and logos of the event sponsors, partners, and supporters to recognize their role at the occasion, are here specially designed to recall and commemorate the inconspicuous elements from the story of food representing the sponsors of the “Event of Life”. Salt over Gold can be entered via a red carpet on which the visitors may take pictures in front of the media wall.

“With the project Salt over Gold, we are interested in exploring the overlooked significant components of the process of food production. For the project, we interviewed local organic farmers to learn about their perspectives and the key elements of farming that the consumer may not realize. These ideas served as the resource material for making the media wall, which is a centerpiece of the installation. We put together a number of the essential elements from farming that escape attention and don’t make it to the ingredients label or nutritious fact chart on a product. The role of things we list such as natural forces, worms, and farmer’s sweat and blood, etc. may seem obvious and not revelatory, however together they recall the complexity of food production, a process in which the food coming to our table originates, and which often happens beyond the scenes. For each of them, we created an original logo in a style of corporate design. By using this esthetic and framing the keywords into an imaginary institutional form we confront the alarming fact that most of the basic elements of life in the past directly accessible by individuals and communities are today controlled, owned, and patented by corporate giants or regulated and taxed by governments. While the nature and content of our food currently undergo a major makeover by genetic engineering, which methods have a significant impact on the environment and health of living organisms, we believe it became important to rethink the rather passive model of eating and take an active and informed position towards the food and the environment.”

The title of the installation is based on the traditional Czech fairytale Salt Over Gold (Sul nad zlato) by Bozena Nemcova, which tells a story about values and worth. Its fictional narrative about the disappearance of all salt on the earth reminds us that sometimes in life we do not see and realize what is important and valuable – especially the mundane, everyday things such as the salt and prefer and value rather more glamorous things such as gold. But once these mundane and inconspicuous things are lost to us, we first realize their worth and importance.

The project Salt Over Gold is a form of a monument to the ordinary un-revered but vital aspects of our lives to which we lost direct access or control thanks to the modern, mostly urban lifestyle of the consumerist society. It questions the basic cultural values, shifting perspectives between pop glamour and power associated with the celebrity wall, and the fundamentals that help sustain our lives as humans.

Video and photos from the opening of the Salt over Gold installation at the FoodShed: Art and Agriculture in Action at CR10