A communal lunch exploring the materials of geophagy; a widespread but understudied and culturally misunderstood practice of consuming rocks, salts and soils – by humans and animal alike. Sometimes geophagy is known to be used as a meal replacement, supplementing poor access to nutritious food and relied on to combat extreme hunger, it is also common as a snack to provide mineral nutrition such as salts and iron, often craved during pregnancy or childhood. Earth is eaten as a medicinal treatment against toxic pathogens, to build immune systems and to help with nausea or stomach aches, a practice which is intrinsically linked to climate activism to keep soil and earth clean from pollutants. It is also a ritual spiritual practice used to connect and commune with earth deities. Geophagy has been studied as a common daily practice in countries as diverse as Argentina, Iran and Namibia.
Here in the UK, along with Georgia and parts of Africa including Cameroon and Suriname are regions with rich sedimentary geological deposits of edible chalky clay seams such as Kaolin, which can be eaten fresh from the ground or flavoured with spices such as black pepper and cardamom.
Explore a selected display of Pimm’s archive of current and historical biomedical research papers, samples and images from field visits to UK clay mining chemists, Ethiopian salt lakes and more. Join us for a celebratory plant-based meal, alongside samples of edible earths. In light of Mansion’s of the Future’s ongoing commitment to the health and safety of our audiences, the session will feature edible earths which are available on the certified UK health food market. Join us to learn more about the benefits of earth nutrients, the harms of toxicity in soil science and the power structures of who has the rights and responsibilities to and for the health of the earth itself.
Rachel Pimm is a London based artist who works in sculpture, video and performance to make work relating to transforming surfaces, environments, ecologies and ecosystems and their politics and materialities, often from the point of view of non-human agents such as plants, minerals, worms, water, rubber or gravity. Pimm is the 2019 writer in residence at Whitechapel Gallery London undertaking research on how to work with environments to tell stories. She lectures in Fine Art at Camberwell College, UAL and Arts University Bournemouth. Recent research includes field work on china clay mining in the UK, volcanic landscapes in Ethiopia, and lab work in morphology and genetics at Cambridge University and in Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University.