WTF is ‘spirit cooking,’ and why is it trending?
Spirit cooking

WTF is ‘spirit cooking,’ and why is it trending?

Posted November 04, 2016 03:28 PM by Rob Eno Spirit cooking
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Just when you thought nothing about 2016 could get weirder … it just did. This morning the term ‘spirit cooking’ is trending on Twitter. What is the term, why is it trending, and what does it have to do with the election? Let me try and explain.

WARNING: If you are the queasy type, or think you might not want to read this at work, don’t continue.

First, the term ‘spirit cooking’ surfaced in a WikiLeaks email dump, which included an email from Tony Podesta to his brother John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chair. The email was a forward from Marina Abramović, a “performance artist,” who performs some really bizarre things. Here’s the email:

Fwd: Dinner

From:podesta@podesta.com

To: john.podesta@gmail.com

Date: 2015-06-28 01:48

Subject: Fwd: Dinner

Are you in NYC Thursday July 9

Marina wants you to come to dinner

Mary?

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Marina Abramovic <marinaxabramovic@gmail.com<mailto:marinaxabramovic@gmail.com>>

Date: June 28, 2015 at 2:35:08 AM GMT+2

To: Tony Podesta <podesta@podesta.com<mailto:podesta@podesta.com>>

Subject: Dinner

Dear Tony,

I am so looking forward to the Spirit Cooking dinner at my place. Do you think you will be able to let me know if your brother is joining?

All my love, Marina

So what is this ‘spirit cooking’? Who is Marina Abramović? And is the email from her real?

First up ‘spirit cooking’ seems to be a piece of performance art, using what appears to be animal blood to write out how to connect with spirits. It also includes spreading the “blood” around a room and on top of some sort of statue. Is it “satanic” as some have said? There is no evidence that it is, but it is certainly weird (and the type of thing the National Endowment of the Arts would probably fund.)

Here is a performance from Italy in 1997:

 

Abramović adapted her performance art into a cookbook for a Museum of Modern Art exhibition. Here’s the description at the MOMA website:

Spirit Cooking was the first project Jacob Samuel produced with his portable aquatint box, working with Abramović—a performance artist with little printmaking experience—in her Amsterdam studio. The artist chose to make a cookbook, writing a series of "aphrodisiac recipes" that serve as evocative instructions for actions or thoughts. To allow the artist to create the accompanying etchings in a manner consistent with her body-oriented practice, Samuel prepared the plates with soft ground so she could scratch directly onto the surface with her fingernails and encouraged her to work with spitbite, using her own saliva with nitric acid to paint on the plate.

Kickstarter fundraising campaign for Abramović’s institute raised more than $600,000.

Who is Marina Abramović? New York Magazine did a feature on Abramović last month. She is a 70-year-old, Yugoslavian-born performance artist. She has collaborated with people such as Jay-Z and Lady Gaga. Her art is certainly out of the mainstream to many Americans, yet she can draw a crowd. In a 2010 exhibition in New York, reportedly 750,000 people lined up to stare at Abramović, including James Franco.

While Abramović’s act is certainly bizarre, we don’t yet know if she is a portal into some depraved world that has engulfed Podesta or the Hillary campaign. But hanging out with her is certainly not something I think a lot of Americans would rush to do.

Robert Eno is the director of research for Conservative Review. He is a conservative from deep blue Massachusetts but now lives in Greenville, SC. If you see something you’d like him to cover, tweet him @robeno.