The plants are smashed on the floor, repeatedly, the performers absorbed in automation. There is a thick layer of protective clothes, gloves and masks that establish a clear distance between them and the destruction of the coriander. Its aggressivity is somehow dehumanised and normalised by risk assessments. Health and safety ingests violence and allows it. Yet we carefully feed from the ruins.
I have chosen this performance for my kitchen takeover because it talks about exploiting something to the point of exhaustion, to then harvest it.
This is the base for any salsa, which might then vary from country to country. In Chile, for example, you might add chopped tomatoes for a pebre, and call the chillies ají. Alternatively in Mexico, you might call the chillies chiles and call the salsa pico de gallo. In any case, a good base is paramount for any variation.
- 2 coriander plants, imported if possible
- 10 small red chillies, imported if possible
- 1 lemon, from your local corner shop
- First of all, you and your sous-chef need to stretch. Cooking is a flexible activity that demands a trained body. Warm up for about 10 minutes.
- The kitchen is a hazardous space. Every risk should be assessed correctly and you should be wearing the appropriate gear. Danger might be waiting for you at the least expected corners, so you should wear full protection to be ready.
- Put on antibacterial and thick gloves ceremoniously. They should cover your hands at all times. Your face must be also protected with a mask in case food splashes. Put it on with pride.
- Needless to say you should be wearing all white, from top to bottom. It is impossible to detect any impurities on clothes of any other colour.
- You are ready now to bring the coriander plants to the cooking space. Do so with care and treat them like a just-born baby.
- What follows is the hardest part of the recipe. You should use all your strength and concentration as the success of your salsa depends on it. Crash the plants on the floor vigorously and repeatedly until the plant is completely destroyed. Use violence and accumulated anger.
- Pick the coriander leaves that remained whole.
- Chop the coriander and chillies finely.
- Clean the plants mess with a broom and form a pile with the soil.
- Go to your local grocer to buy a lemon and squeeze its juice on the soil.
- Season the coriander and chillies with the rest of the lemon and some salt.
Nora Silva is a Spanish-Chilean artist based in London. Graduated from the Royal College of Art, a recent show includes No Fall Games at La Casa Encendida, Madrid. She has performed at Tate Exchange, Design Museum and Camden Arts Centre in London. Nora creates sculptural installations, building fictional contexts to address political issues. Aesthetics are key to her performative practice often using gestures of irony, contradiction or frustration. Her work is intimately linked to the social, exploring food as medium, material and process. She also co-directs The Gramounce, an exhibition supper club, and MilesKm, an arts collective researching collaborative practice within the arts. @iwasearly