Sour Things: The Kitchen

multimedia installation

Powder-coated metal, 3 videos, soundscape, textile, ceramics, plaster, ferments, lemon, egg white and salt.

Sour Things: The Kitchen is the second installation of an iterative form. The first was Sour Things: The Souq, commissioned for Sharjah Biennial 15.

Where the former was situated outside, in an abandoned 1970s marketplace in Sharjah, this version is more internal, mapping the functions and mechanics of my body (both as an individual and as part of a collective) into the structure of a kitchen.

A kitchen structure becomes the setting for Sour Things. It is my attempt to encapsulate a raw approach to ingestion/digestion, looking at human and non-human processes of control and overflow. The body expands into a kitchen, in which revealing and confessing is staged over notions of eating, preservation, transformation and decay.

Sour Things takes fermentation as a metaphor for micro-worlds in order to comment on cities, people, relationships and daily occurrences. In every form the series takes — the pantry, the table, the bed, the washroom, the baggage, the door — it will serve as a fragment of dwelling, a response to the specific political conditions in Palestine that have prevented me from settling and resting, rendering me nomadic for the past decade. Sour Things as a home, a Total work made up of models of domesticity, emerges from an introspection on notions of transformation, time, labor, and a slower mode of consumption. It is an approach that resides between excess and restraint, home and body.

Produced by Nika Project Space. 
Photography Ivan Erofeev

Sour Things: The kitchen, was shown at:

I Can No Longer Produce the limits of my own body, curated by Nadine Khalil, Nika project space, Dubai.
Art Dubai 2024, Nika Project Space booth.

Open Your Mouth, 2023 Quadraphonic composition, 15-min loop
Soundscape composition and design by Isaac Sullivan
Text and voice of Mirna Bamieh

Open Your Mouth mediates a text entitled "Staging Gluttony," in which a deep, incessant hunger accompanies the speaker's negotiation of repetitive quotidian occurrences alongside her sense of a world continually on the verge of collapse. Here Bamieh's vocals – multiplied, fragmented, and recorded in varying sonic registers to imply a polyphonic subjectivity – range across a four-channel, surround sound environment, interwoven with Sullivan's textural swarms of noise, which consolidate field recordings, vocal sampling, and granular synthesis.

Sour Things, under sink curtains, 2023 Text by Mirna Bamieh
Design by Engy Aly
Digital printing on linen, 8 pieces
81 x 40 cm and 81 x 50 cm

Curtains obscure what they reveal, prompting the viewer’s curiosity to peek underneath the sink, to the concealed landscape of salt with all things sour, all things hidden.
The words on the curtains are excerpted from my text When life gives you lemons over and over again.

Tayammum, 2023
Under kitchen counter video on flat screen, 5’11

I obsessively rub salt on my hands and arms over and over, in a gesture that recalls ablution rituals in preparation for praying. Sand is used when water is absent, and salt or air are used at times of desperate measures.

Body of Others, 2023
Inside sink video projection, 5’9

I tended to this Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) kombucha for five years. It was a consistent practice of care both for myself and those who rely on my supply of kombucha for their gut health, as the sole home-brewing kombucha producer in Ramallah and Jerusalem. The video is a farewell gesture to this dear SCOBY. I made it before I left my house and kitchen studio in Ramallah during the 7th October War, not knowing when I could return, and if the SCOBY would survive my absence.

A Brief Commentary on Almost Everything, 2012
One-channel video wall projection, 3’33

Intended to function as an intimate self-portrait, I have greatly slowed down the motion of one single yawn to the point that it almost comes across as a photographic still. In doing so, the scene acquires an atemporal quality whereby the most intricate of details assume the kind of monumentality associated with grand gestures. This video is reflective of my practice through which I deconstruct various phenomena and behaviors, transforming them from trivial events into brief commentaries on almost everything in my life.

Haamed, 2023
Yellow glass LED neon
100x x 25 x 6 cm

A neon sign in Arabic that translates to the English meanings of both ‘sour’ and ‘lemons’.