"Elusive Earths III"
              Kim Córdova
              At Parallel, Oaxaca, curatorial-artistic-investigative-philosophical team Jennifer Teets and Lorenzo Cirrincione present “Elusive Earths III,” the third iteration of their ongoing ethnographic inquiry into the history of geophagic traditions. The practice of geophagia—earth eating—is adopted by human and nonhuman animals alike and occurs virtually worldwide. Among humans it generally appears in three forms: as cultural practice, as a survival response to famine or poverty, and as a psychological craving for non-nutritional foodstuffs, known as Pica.(1) It pertains to both the origins and the future of medicine, though the scientific properties of bentonite and kaolin clays that support its health-based uses are today most widely adopted by the mass-market beauty and wellness industries. Whether operating within its original contexts and modes of consumption or exported beyond them, the use of earth for medicinal or cosmetic purposes invokes questions about whether the earth provided is authentically sourced and prepared. Inspired by sixteenth-century reproductions of terra sigillata [sealed earth]—clay pills produced by the ancient Greeks which according to Teets and Cirrincione are “one of the first lineages in pharmacology”—the project seeks to excavate linkages between the human and geological activity in the Anthropocene, including knowledge circuits, authenticity, performativity, and toxicity. In a conversation at the gallery, …

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