The Indifferent Wonder of an Edible Place by Studio Oleomingus

The Indifferent Wonder of an Edible Place by Studio Oleomingus

“In my country, history itself is edible.
Time masticated into tales,
people digested into stories.

Places leak mineral flavor.
Buildings are grated and ground.
Domes flattened into rotis, Blood boiled into dal.

The very earth on which we once grew,
is reabsorbed into the metabolism
of a nation that has decided to consume itself,
like an ouroboros.

A glorious violent meal.
A spectacular event.

A prelude to excreting people
who have been leached of all flavor and all difference.
The ideal members of a new state.
Excrement of the old.”

– Mir UmarHassan 1960 (Translated 1983).

In 1961 when the state of Bombay split like an egg on the jagged edge of the Western Ghats and formed the territories of Gujarat and Maharashtra, the town of Matsyapura was abandoned by government decree – to make it easier to draw a clean border between the new states.

Mir UmarHassan, the fabled Gujarati poet, lamented this willful and violent erasure of an ancient town and in a delightful satirical poem, where he wrote about the vapid consumption of a place and the excretion of a people devoid of the flavors of their individual and munificent past.

With recent cause to recollect the horror of the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, and in solidarity with the protests against the draconian actions of our government – we are revisiting UmarHassan’s original poem.

The indifferent wonder of an edible place, is our attempt to ponder the violence of erasure and the profound grief of having to survive on the margins of history.

Created with support from Phoenix, Leicester.  A site-specific variant of the game was displayed at Phoenix, Leicester. And at the Video Game Art Gallery in Chicago.

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