Somewhere between 7,000 to 4,000 B.C., in Mesopotamia, in the Kingdom of Sumeria, women invented beer. Early agriculture in the "fertile crescent" was centered around grains. Those grains, pregnant with possibility, became bread and, eventually, beer. Sumerian women were both the first brewers and the first gods of beer. By adding a trace amount of my vaginal yeast to regular brewer's yeast, my "Original Pussy Beer" pays homage to beer's ancient creators from "the cradle of civilization." Woman is literally reunited with the beer.
Yeast, because it has been used for millennia, carries a great amount of symbolic weight. As a key ingredient to basic sustenance like bread and beer, yeast is an age-old, familiar and very powerful medium to work with. Food, and our complex relationship with it, is mythical; when we eat and drink, human happiness and sorrow, love and hate, heaven and hell are simultaneously displayed and represented. If beer is food, and food is life itself, then beer too is life itself.
Experimentation with these historic staple foods, in combination with my own body, helps to build a new artistic dimension: understanding through taste. To experience an art piece through taste is a two-pronged experience. The viewer has to make a simple decision - to ingest it or not. From this primal question new questions quickly arise: Is it socially acceptable to drink beer that includes even a trace amount of vaginal yeast? Is it natural? Is it kinky? Can a man drinking this beer still be macho? Why does it make such a difference when it comes to the human body?
It is these questions about society's ever-increasing disconnect with the human body that I try to expose and learn about by feeding the viewer. By sharing my art in this way, I share my body and mind, inviting the viewer to have a conversation on a genuinely intimate level. Essence meets essence. The participants begin to understand me and I them.
Humanity was built on beer and conversation. Please enjoy both.
PROST! -Toi Sennhauser