Luiza Prado is an artist, activist and researcher. Their work moves between installation and food, using performance and ritual as a way of invitation and activation for audiences. Their practice explores anticolonial strategies in relations and knowledge between food, infrastructures and technology, and questions what structures and process are needed for collective concerns of care. Their current artistic research project, “Un/Earthings and Moon Landings” reimagines past, future, and present histories of silphium — a plant once used as an aphrodisiac, contraceptive, and cooking spice in the Roman Empire. Thought to be extinct for 2,000 years, the plant might have recently been found again.
Luiza Prado is a resident in the transmediale 2023 Digital Art Residency programme in collaboration with Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. In her new research, Empty Calories, she will focus on the increasing disconnection between the realities of food production and climate collapse and its widespread consumption as content on screens. Questioning how online platforms create desires for ingredients and food trends, Empty Calories brings attention to the unusable politics of food, its new networked condition, and disassociation from environmental and sociopolitical realities. Unfolding as a reality tv show, Luiza Prado will research the history of the luxury spice and medical cure-all – silphium – a once highly desired ingredient and delicacy in the ancient world. Tracing through the plant’s economic significance and eventual extinction, Empty Calories raises questions about the links between the anthropogenic extinction of species and plants and politics of distraction.