Week 2

Using Nature as a Tool: Efficient Eco Materialism Solutions For Food Shortage

Inspired by last week’s lecture, and more specifically bread and yeast, I decided to make pizza this weekend. To my surprise, when I went shopping for the ingredients, there was no bread flour and very little yeast available, even weeks into the quarantine. Curious about the longstanding nature of the COVID-19-driven wheat shortage, I began conducting research to understand the extent of this issue.

Week 2: Armenian Bread & Traditions

       My Armenian parents frequently tell me about the lifestyle of families in small villages throughout Armenia. They emphasize the importance of baking lavash, a soft and thin flatbread, in these villages. Made with flour, water, and salt, lavash can come in different forms of thickness depending on how it is rolled. Although it is a form of income for many families, lavash also has a deeper meaning beyond financial gain.

Coping with COVID-19: Why Are We Baking Bread?

The current situation is a tough one, and one that produces new difficulties daily for individuals and families across the world. A reality for many of us every day as we remain barricaded indoors is a barrage of news articles detailing disheartening and often downright frightening developments, and to which it feels like none of us can have any impact. Following suit are data on various trends, including increasing unemployment, numbers of infected and dying individuals, and shortage of essential supplies.

Week 2: The Evolution of Grain Based Foods from Ancient Egyptians to COVID-19

Restaurants remain closed throughout the country, and the dining industry has been shocked through its core. Citizens have taken matters into their own hands by raiding grocery store shelves. Governments have recommended that citizens limit their trips to essential businesses and grocery stores. Despite being one of the most dangerous places to go during a pandemic, individuals are relentlessly making more and more trips to their local market.

Week 2 - "Baking History - Bread as a Barometer for Life in the Times of COVID-19"

In artist Haytham Nawar’s “Collective Bread Diaries: Cultural Identities in an Artificial Intelligence Framework,” bread takes on multiple roles that transcend its materiality and humility. Bread not only becomes a vehicle for staple nourishment, but a vehicle for the sustenance of civilization, economic prosperity, and social order.

Many Faces of Bread

125. One hundred twenty-five grams of bread was given a day to people of Leningrad for three long years from 1941 to 1944, when Nazis besieged the city, cutting it off supply lines and ceasing communication with the outside world. Workers and soldiers, children and adults, young and elderly — all got the same amount. The loss of a "bread-card" — a document, entitling one to their portion of dry, old, rye bread, meant the difference between life and death. People fought, stole, and killed to get their piece.

Week 2: Bread Builds Civilizations, And Knocks Them Down

It is indubitable that the agricultural revolution formed the foundation for all civilization and human expansion. Humanity depends on food and sustenance, and even today grains remain the most fundamental component of the global diet. For this reason, it is very interesting to examine the role of the resource as it relates to culture and both historical and modern society. The work of Haytham Nawar is a phenomenal contextualization of the significance of bread across people and nations.

The Food for Famine, Faith, and Fame

           My average breakfast the past few weeks has consisted of some form of juice along with a protein bar and another non-perishable snack on the side. Yet, this isn’t what I or most Americans typically dine on in the mornings. Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the majority of our typical daily rituals have been replaced or compromised on due to the quarantine mandate.

Grain Consumption during COVID-19 Pandemic

As the novel coronavirus continues to grow and spread across the world, a significant portion is under some form of stay-at-home order from local and federal governments. Citizens around the world are either prohibited from or strongly discouraged to leave the home and it is recommended that individuals limit their trips to essential businesses, such as grocery stores, as well.

Chester Cheetah, Momentary Savior & Menace During COVID-19: the art of comfort food packaging and its societal implications

An article published in the New York Times by Julie Creswell discusses the role foods like Chef Boyardee and Campbell’s soup are playing in helping consumers regain a sense of nostalgia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gracing the front of the article is an image of a woman scarfing down bright, red flamin’ hot Cheetos.

Globalism and Universal Spread

During the time of the Coronavirus, the concept of globalization and the spread of culture, materials, and disease is very present. In Linda Weintraub's lecture about Eco Materialism, she states that the technological advancement that radically changed the world of art was the invention of the aircraft. Most transparently, the aircraft provided the ability for a speedy transfer of physical commodities and people.

Unleavened Bread and Passover/Easter

This past week/weekend is one of the biggest for Jewish and Christian/Catholic communities as they celebrate Passover and Easter. Growing up in the Catholic faith, I have always been taught that bread, and in particular the unleavened bread consumed during the Eucharist, is the bread of life and a way for Christ to present within us.


Covid19 is affecting everyone around the globe. However, this past weekend those of the Jewish and Christian faiths (and other sub-denominations) were unable to celebrate and observe their common religious rituals.


Putting in Blood, Sweat and Tears for our Daily Bread

Haytham Nawar applies a multi-perspective lens to his interactive art project “Collective Bread Diaries,” in which participants may reflect a part of their identity through their unique interpretations of the staple. The participants’ representations are reproduced objectively through an MTurk technology/artificial intelligence program, thus preserving the participants’ thoughts when creating their individual bread diaries (Nawar).


Subscribe to RSS - Week 2