Salt of the Body

Salt of the Body: Gendai Kitchen Winter Launch

Culinary workshop with Stuart Sakai
Launching Elements of Exchange, an art multiple by Mitchell Akiyama

Presented by MMMMM…Gendai Kitchen

The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St. West
February 26, 2017

6:00–7:30 Workshop (Private)
7:30–9:00 Launch Event (Public)
Workshop RSVP: EventBrite

Learn about the complexity of salt by creating yummy dishes with Stuart Sakai! These dishes will be served at the public launch following the workshop.

“Salt of the Earth” is a phrase from the Bible used to describe people of great integrity and reliability. More literally, it was used to describe one whose labour found equivalent value in salt. Though salt is no longer as valuable a commodity as it once was, it is still vital to the body – responsible for regulating the balance of certain fluids as they flow through our bodies.

Stuart Sakai celebrates Mitchell Akiyama’s Elements of Exchange, an artist multiple of three vessels consisting of handmade salts prepared with the same elements found in sweat, tears, and urine. Through the culinary workshop, Salt of the Body, Sakai further connects participants with Elements of Exchange. Using all their senses, participants will explore the basics of the chemistry of salt, its history, and use in modern day cooking, and most importantly, experience its effect on food and taste by preparing and eating a selection of dishes.

As a complex and often misunderstood ingredient, Salt of the Body, reveals salt for what it is and how it is used, leaving participants to wonder what role it plays in their daily diet and its potential to counter culinary opinion.

6:00–7:30 Workshop
Learn about the complexity of salt in a private workshop
7:30–9:00 Launch Reception
Open to the public, where guests can enjoy the food prepared during the workshop

The workshop is FREE but space is LIMITED. Please RSVP to EventBrite to save a spot at the workshop.

About Elements of Exchange by Mitchell Akiyama

Elements of Exchange is Gendai Kitchen’s winter season art multiple.

Life is sculpted from salt. It is a vital nutrient to the diets of all living things. It regulates several fundamental biological functions; maintains fluid balance and cardiovascular function; influences the nervous system and bodily movement; assists in fermentation processes during digestion. Through history, salt has played a similar role outside of the body: as one of the humankind’s oldest currencies, salt has served as a mediator of abstract value and as a stockpile of wealth.

Elements of Exchange explores these parallel functions of salt by introducing biologically-created salts into contemporary systems of exchange. For this project, Mitchell Akiyama has created a series of synthesized salts approximating those found in human body-generated fluids (urine, sweat, and tears). Prepared from readily available, food-grade materials, these salts are meant to evoke our complicated relationships with “abject” matter—substances which, having left the body, become associated with deterioration and death, and which troublingly collapse the boundaries between self and other.

About MMMMM…Gendai Kitchen

Initiated by Gendai Gallery, MMMMM…Gendai Kitchen is a food-art subscription service that delivers culinary-themed art multiples to your kitchens and stomachs. With food-inspired artist multiples, responsive performances, and critical texts, the program unfolds over the course of this four-season cycle, with one artist multiple delivery and corresponding opening event each season. The project weaves together five “M’s” —Mapping, Myth, Mobility, Magic, and Migration—as maxims for a deeper, complicated and historical engagement with contemporary food politics, economy, and place.

Gendai Kitchen launched this past Summer with a multiple by Myung-Sun Kim and an event with Lisa Myers. Following the Fall release of Ed Pien’s multiple, a Winter multiple will be produced by Mitchell Akiyama. The program will conclude in Spring of 2017 with a multiple by Karen Tam and event with Lesley Loksi Chan.

The works of Ed Pien, Myung-Sun Kim, Mitchell Akiyama, and Karen Tam can be yours for only $250!

Subscribe here at Gendai Kitchen


Mitchell Akiyama is a Toronto-based artist, scholar, and composer. His eclectic body of work includes objects and installations that trouble received ideas about perception and sensory ex-perience; writings about contemporary art, animals, and cities; along with many albums of music and scores for film and dance. Akiyama’s output has appeared in commensurately miscellane-ous sources such as Leonardo Music Journal, ISEA, Sonar Music Festival (Barcelona), Raster-Noton Records (Berlin), Gendai Gallery (Toronto), and in many other exhibitions, publications, and festivals. He holds a PhD in communications from McGill University and an MFA from Con-cordia University and is currently a SSRHC Postdoctoral Fellow at York University’s Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts & Technology.

Stuart Sakai has worked in many fields in and out of the arts. As a graduate of OCADU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography in 2006, Stuart began working in the Artist-Run sector at Gallery 44 and worked there for 8 years, all the while also working the restaurant business in both front and back of house. He’s also an accomplished arts installer, as well as part of The Tintype Studio. In the last few years his focus has been on the study of Japanese cuisine and culture. While working primarily in the more hands-on environments of restaurants and Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, he’s also taken his experience as an arts practitioner and applied it to his culinary practice, studying Japanese food, drink and the culture surrounding it.