BioART: Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences – Amanda LaFlamme

AMANDA LAFLAMME
Beauty and the Yeast
Bread, Plexiglass, Wood
2012

This piece was created using the historical and biotechnological process of mixing flour, water, salt, and yeast to create a mass of dough. Through fermentation, live organisms interacting within the dough created alcohol and carbon dioxide gas, which caused the dough to rise before and during baking. After baking and slicing the bread, the artist used a laser engraver to toast the words of the story into each slice. The story and the bread itself are representations of feminist issues such as the stereotyping of the female sex and gender, the empowerment of women, the contributions of women to our culture as well as the field of science, and the missed connections between these issues.

Traditionally science was male dominated yet women have been unrecognized scientists for centuries and bread making is just one example of that as baking has been seen as ‘women’s work’ yet bread making is biotechnology. Once upon a time women were legally banned from universities and ownership of property including businesses. Thus men first created women’s limitations and then used women’s perceived lack of growth and independence as proof that women were incompetent. Still today, women face economic limitations due to our patriarchal society although it is changing slowly. This representation of the link between bread making and biotechnology in the form of art symbolizes women’s resiliency and resourcefulness. What men have done with riches, women have done with their scraps.

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