Deipnophoroi

.Ancient Greek biographer and essayist Plutarch (c. AD 46-120) writes of an ancient Greek festival in which the community, as an initiation for young men coming of age, would reenact sending their youth to King Minos of Crete to be fed as sacrifice to the Minotaur. The only women allowed to participate in this ceremony were given the role of the mothers of the sacrificial tribute — labeled Deipnophoroi, or “food bringers”— performing the task of comforting their children with stories and food in the face of a sure and terrible death.

Deipnophoroi, a video diptych, translates this ceremony into contemporary language and contemporary fears, exploring the strange job a mother faces when preparing one’s child for the unutterable.  Each video represents a specific preparation — mothers prepare their children for death, enslavement, monsters, rape — and each was created as a mini-collaboration between the artist and another performing artist who is also a mother.

Mothers are left to clean up disasters, bring food, comfort and most of all prepare our children when they are faced with the terrors of the world. And yet, more often than not, when mothers speak the truth too explicitly we are turned into monsters ourselves.

The project — which is ongoing — begins to create taxonomy of maternal language and strategies. It brings this language, which so often remains secret, into the art space — a space that as well does not often offer room for the mother.

The first sequence of eight videos was created as an Artist Residency at the Grand Central Art Center with their generous support, funded in part by an Andy Warhol Foundation Grant.