carbohydrate food bags

I have spent the past several years trying to articulate the differences of the term logic, tool, and aesthetic.  A good friend and colleague has been struggling to understand what I mean by these terms and their boundaries or definitions.


Go here for a some more info on them.

I have tried using movies as a way to define them and explain their functions.  Somewhat successful in conversation, but I think food might be a better way to do so.

Take pierogi.  They, as written on Wikipedia, “are dumplings of unleavened dough – first boiled, then they are baked or fried usually in butter with onions – traditionally stuffed with potato fillingsauerkrautground meat, cheese, or fruit.”

Does this sound like any other foods?

How about a wonton? From Wikipedia- “Wontons are made by spreading a square wrapper (a dough skin made of floureggwater, and salt)[1][2] flat in the palm of one’s hand, placing a small amount of filling in the center, and sealing the wonton into the desired shape ”  Again a dough outer layer with stuffing. Wontons are usually filled with ground pork and are “commonly boiled and served in soup or sometimes deep-fried.”

Take the Maultasche, or mouth bag, from southern Germany.  On Wikipedia it is defined as “It consists of an outer-layer of pasta dough which encloses a filling traditionally consisting of minced meatsmoked meatspinach, bread crumbs and onions and flavoured with various herbs and spices”

Italian cuisine gives us ravioli(not to mention the tortelloni and tortellini!).  Ravioli  “are composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin egg pasta dough“.  From Jewish cuisine, we have the kreplach and from Russian cuisine, the pelmeni.  The dough of the kreplach “is traditionally made of flourwater and eggs“, while the pelmeni has less egg, if any.  There is also the Belarusian kalduny, the Ukranian varenyky,  the empanada from the Spanish/Portuguese speaking world, the Romanian/Turkish/Armenian manti, the Mongolian buuz, the Korean mandu (this page has a list of the varieties of mandu), the Tibetan momo, the Uzbekian chuchvara, the Georgian khinkali, which is eaten in an interesting manner, the Circassian mataz, the Indian samosa, the Chinese baozi and the baozi page has a list of all the different types of baozi, which brings me to another point which I will address later.  This listing of types of carbohydrate food bags is by no means exhaustive.  There are many that I have missed.

The cooking method and stuffing aside, these dishes are a flour based wrapper filled with other food materials.  They are more similar to each other than not.  Given the range of food in the world, I would say that they are essentially the same thing.

How do the carbohydrate food bags apply to the logic/tool/aesthetic triangle?

The logic of these foods, and food in general for that matter, is nutrition.  Food provides energy and material to build or repair cells.  More specifically, we could say that the logic of these types of foods is carbohydrate food bags.  The tool is the ingredients that make up each kind of carbohydrate food bag.  The aesthetic is how those ingredients are prepared.  Wontons, for example, are sealed “into the desired shape.”

In terms of savory or sweet as an aesthetic, maultaschen tend to be savory, while kreplachs are sometimes filled with sweet cheese.  Other aesthetic variations are fried or boiled carbohydrate food bags.  Aesthetic variations also exist in the thickness of the doughs used to create the food bags and in the size.  Maultaschen, generally 8-12 cm across, tend to be the largest.  There is a version of the baozi,  the ‘Dabao (“big bun”),’ which “measuring about 10 cm across, served individually, and usually purchased for take-away” is larger than the xiaobao  version, which measure only 5 cm across.

Shape is also a means for aesthetic expression in the world of carbohyrate food bags.  Samosas tend to be somewhat pyramidical.  Khinkali look like small hot water bags.  Ravioli tend to somewhat rectangular;  tortellini somewhat curved.  Momo are circular and similar to the khinkali but without the long top.  Please see the photos below for a few visual examples.

Going back to the baozi.  We could refine our definition of logic and say that the logic we want to deal with now is the baozi.  The tools are the ingredients that make up the baozi – a steamed bun (carbohydrate) made with yeast filled with meat or vegetables.  The aesthetic choices can be sweet or savory.  There is the Charsiu bau, which is filled” with barbecue-flavoured char siu pork.”  The Kaya-baozi is “filled with Kaya, a popular jam made from coconuteggs, and sometimes pandanin Malaysia and Singapore.”  The Korean mandu also has several variations.  The “Saengchi mandu (생치만두),” is  “stuffed with pheasant meat, beef, and tofu” and “was eaten in Korean royal court and in the Seoul area during winter.”  There is the Mulmandu (물만두).  “The word itself means “water mandu” since it is boiled.”

Logic, with relation to carbohydrate food bags, could be defined as fried and savory.  This logic would be satisfied by fried meat filled pierogi, gunmandu, and geröstete maultaschen.  We could say that we want a logic of roundness within the carbohydrate food bag world.  Maultaschen would not satisfy that logic, neither would pierogi, unless you looked down the long axis.  Momo satisfy the round logic when viewed from above.

The above examples for logic might seem somewhat murky.  But I gave these examples to show tools,aesthetics, and logics are not determined by what something is, but more by how it functions.

The simplest way I know how to define these three terms is as follows –

the logic is why

the tool is what

the aesthetic is how.

Performance Nutrition

What humanity needs to ingest to survive evolves very slowly.  As our ancestors before us, we are still eating proteins, sugars, fats, vitamins, antioxidants, etc to survive.  Humanity’s needs in the arts evolve slowly, too.  Witness the fact that Greek tragedies and Shakespeare’s plays are still produced. Song of love and loss are recorded still.  Instead of using harps, musicians now use laptops and keyboards.

What evolves faster in terms of performance ingestion is the tools used to create the fodder for consumption.  New ways of moving, making sound, lighting the performance space, modes of covering and leaving the performing form uncovered evolve faster than what is done with those tools.

Inevitably these new tools are used to in performances that return to the basic needs of the audience.  After a deplorably short time, the exploration of the new tools is dropped and their use is co-opted by the need to explore the human condition, to create theater.

In other words, the tools and aesthetics change, but we come back to the same logics again and again and again.

Just as the nutritive needs of human will basically remain static so, too, will the performative needs of humanity.  It, therefore, behooves us to investigate the tools themselves and not their use in relation to humanity and the human condition.  Only in this way can we expect the arts to evolve

Not post anything only pre

From an email to a friend – (with some additions)

I think that we are not “post” anything, only “pre” what is coming down the pike.  I think that “post” implies that whatever we are past, what tools, logics, and aesthetics we explored in the past are over and no longer relevant. But love stories are not gone. Dances about the human condition are still being made. They are not being created with Graham technique, but with release, CI influenced deconstructed ballet choreography. So why if the logic(topic) of the piece is basically the same, but the tool used is post – or contemporary we do not call the piece modern? What criteria are we using to define work – the tools used, the logic expressed, or the aesthetic used?

Every age, -ism, and ide[a]logy that is created doesn’t die out but becomes part of the available pallate(sp?) palette, incorporated in to what people have and can use, expanding the reified world.

We all get hung up in the details as opposed to viewing the relationships among the details.  Heidegger, after all, said that existence is defined by relationship to.

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The Three Stages of Creation

There are three stages of conscious creation, though unconsciousness can factor into them.

They are exploration, experimentation, and execution.

I had a good description of the three written down in a notebook during a caffeine fueled frenzy after a Klein technique class at Labor Gras, but, alas, that notebook is AWOL. Here is a link to an earlier posting on the subject from ’08

Their4, I will begin again.

Exploration is the first stage. It is search before the research. It is the hearsal before the rehearsal. It is the discovery of what exists around you, whether you are in the studio or sitting on the subway thinking about your project. It is discovery/invention of what tools you will be using in your project. Also exploration is the rejection of tools. A work of art is more about what it is not than what it is. Granted all types of infinities exist some are just larger than others.

Experimentation is the second stage. Once the tools have been selected/created, their relationships can be investigated. (Uh oh, passive voice) How do the tools interact? Are you using them as tools or have they become logics or aesthetics? Experimentation is also the stage in which you can begin to figure out more in what direction your project will go.

The final stage is execution – when the work is presented before an audience.

I would say that in the choreo/impro spectrum the size of the triangle is larger towards the choreo end and approaches a dot towards the impro end. But choreo could be made as something to experiment with during the execution phase, the logic of that piece then being more improvisational.

All three phases can happen at the same time or separately. In more traditional (choreo’ed) work, there is more linear progression from exploration to experimentation to execution.

Below are two pictographs about this triumvirate. One has the three on a Cartesian co-ordinate system and the other as a simple triangle, which can be mapped on to the co-ordinate system. I find that the co-ordinate system can be a little misleading as it implies a “0” in relation to the three elements, which as I think about it now does make sense, so maybe it is not so confusing. A work of art that has no exploration, no experimentation and no execution would be not. What would something that has an infinite amount of each?

The first pictograph has the term “Sprecta of Deliberation”. I borrowed and expanded the term “Spectrum of Deliberation” from Nina Martin. I expanded it to Spectra” as I believe that there is a greater than one dimensional difference between choreo and impro.

I appreciate any thoughts and feedback on this subject.