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Photography by Nic Grobler

The Apocalypse Pantry; a survivor’s guide to happiness in the urban Armageddon

Can we think through the senses? Recognise how systems of control distribute what is sensible, what is knowable, along predetermined trajectories, patterns of thought, or experiences of encounter? It’s in the concrete and the corridors; the ways our bodies are made to move; the doors that open and shut; the dull buzz of boundaries; the tubes of florescent light that dizzy and blind; the beeping of barcodes; the gaping mouths of inaccessible, empty rooms; the partitions… tongues against a dead dry wall.  Does it make your stomach ache? Can you think from the gut? Zayaan Khan and Heather Thompson are wading in from the underbelly, dripping in dirt, stepping steady as pulse, reclaiming their breath in order to resuscitate themselves and, in the process, they’re pulling open the nourishing compendium of The Apocalypse Pantry to proliferate all of the knowledge that they’ve dreamt and acquired, caught and released, chewed on and stored. The pantry is a synesthetic experience traversing the gustatory, visual, olfactory, auditory and kinaesthetic. It’s a rich, mycelial network of tactile and intuitive connections, sprouting transformative possibilities for life through the thoroughly collaborative labour it’s grounded in. It’s a healing apothecary nurtured in the visceral learning and ingested explorations of its urban alchemists, unafraid to listen from the barometers of their own bodies. It sweats and it stinks like a microbial mulch against the violent homogenisation and pasteurisation of what it means to exist in the world, rejects the exploitative dispossessions that occur around symbolic and physical distributions of value; hierarchical organisations and segregations of ripe and rotten, clean and unclean, worthy and unworthy. Can we harvest our reflexive responses in order to dismantle that which disregards and disenfranchises, that which enacts a silent apocalypse of now through the multiple deaths of daily experiences?

13244092_1020812691334067_6755642126649548306_o Photography by Loubie Ruschdsc09590_00002

The Apocalypse Pantry explodes open the privileged illusions of complacency and immunity, kicks out the artificial support of commodified comfort swung from the shelves, shifts the sedimentation in order to level us all to the earth. It’s about food as an inescapable and thus accessible point from which to approach multiple questions surrounding the most basic sustenance we require in order to survive. What does sovereignty mean when we cannot feed ourselves, when we cannot even recognise the food that surrounds us? Can abundance still cross-pollinate in all of its vital multiplicity? Can supressed knowledges still germinate within the murk of our muddied hearts? Perhaps the things that we were told to leave for dead are just dormant, deciduous, waiting for us to vigorously redefine our relationships and create even small spaces from which to bloom. 13626341_1749180028700016_6173877731179642446_ndsc09590_00003 If the apocalypse is a fire, it’s a regenerative force, a decomposition of depletion, an alert awareness that reminds us to bend to the faint, grubby scent that leaks from a crack in the pavement, to notice the succulent shoot that’s somehow sustained itself during its difficult movements through the hard and hostile surface. The pantry offers a refreshing recollection of our ability to embody similar forms of resilient resistance against the suffocating clutch of capitalistic control. It refuses the disempowering conditioning we’re encultured into and emerges from underneath the heavy, burdensome fog of our subtle and insipid incorporation into the imperialist, white-supremacist, neoliberal, patriarchal order. What kills us often calls itself life but if we calm down, if we’re conscious, we are able to utilise our resources and transform our blood into an anti-venom against the vacuous and virulent. The Apocalypse Pantry is a purgative to disfigure and disorder our conceptual and corporeal limitations. It summons our creative capabilities by observing our instinctual coping mechanisms and sows seeds towards the cultivation of our fruitful potential, even within dense, vampiric atmospheres. The apocalypse is about the generative possibilities of our vulnerability, the disorientation of self-centered claims towards mastery and domination. It’s about acknowledging the mystical reality of our interconnections with the universe, noticing our permeability through the composition of our bodies from the same stuff as stars, or the ways that microbiomes are stirred and folded into our genomes… even our own forms are inhabited by more than ourselves. Perhaps there are strategies for our survival that will one day return us to a vision of bodies committed to the cycles of the soil, not because they are eviscerated by bullets or bombs, but because they are old and worn and loved. The Apocalypse Pantry is rooted in hopeful reimaginings, quiet mutations towards where we can flourish. Take a deep breath and get cooking…

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