This work was made in response to Archaologist Flinders Petrie’s extraordinary collection of Pots at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaology. 2014

Cradle, 2014

Video projection and terracotta bowl,
1m ⌀

Beadle’s Box, South Cloisters, UCL

I enjoyed considering the endless uses of a pot, from leavening bread to burying the dead. The pot was a key piece of food technology in Egyptian households, I love the idea of the eternal cauldron of stew bubbling away over the fire.

The fermenting process interests me – the ancient Egyptians were the first civilisation to make leavened bread – and I started making bread using sourdough bacteria from a bakery in Giza; bacteria likely to be the same strain as in the days the ‘Petrie’ pots were made.

Video footage of it is projected onto the inside of a terracotta “moon-like” bowl. The projection shows the bubbling bread starter forcibly risen in a vacuum chamber, creating a visibly living substance, expanding and subsiding on a loop, reflecting the on-going life of the pot or the rise and fall of civilisations, and also making me think of the ideas and cosmologies of the Egyptians.