week 6 - concept for final project: bread venn diagram

During this week, my group and I finalized our project idea of the bread venn diagram. We wrote an abstract together focusing on that bread is the basis of human existence. Not only does it provide us sustenance, but it is also one of the greatest pleasures in life. Starting from just flour, water, and yeast, baking these simple ingredients are able to provide the nutrients we need to survive. We want to dive deeper into the science behind the production of these distinct types of bread by exploring the cultural and historical significances of the different grains; examining their differences and similarities with another. We would like to do this by creating a large physical Venn diagram comparing the bread making processes of wheat, corn, and rice. 

During Week 2, we had a lesson on the science of bread, which is made of flour, water, salt, and yeast, in addition to the process of fermentation (where yeast turns sugar into carbon dioxide, causing the dough to rise). We will dig deeper into this topic by not limiting our bread exploration just to wheat- we will also be looking at corn and rice. We also learned about the historical and cultural context of corn when Alvaro Azcarraga visited our class.

Bread is a major food staple in almost every culture’s diet. It is said that the earliest known bread was made around 8000 BC in Egypt, when someone accidentally left their porridge out. After it started bubbling, it was put into an oven, and bread was invented. It plays an integral role in our daily lives as can be seen as a symbol of culture, religion, history, hunger, wealth, war, and peace. Bread is deeply intertwined with religion during the Eucharist, symbolizes the body of Jesus Christ where during communion, it is passed around with wine as a remembrance for our salvation from bondage and sin. It also is considered a gift from God, where Moses feeds his people in the desert, when bread had fallen from heaven.

Physical installation based on the shape and form of a venn diagram. It will illustrate the connections between the ingredients and bread making process of corn, wheat, and rice breads.

Since my focus for a grain is wheat, I have found that originally found in the cradle of civilization in the Tigris Euphrates River Valley. 17,000 years ago, humans gathered seeds to chew the kernels raw, parched, or simmered. Wheat has been cultivated for over 10,000 years beginning in the fertile crescent (spans modern-day countries of Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, & Egypt). Milling wheat became common in the 12th century but by the 19th century it turned into one of the most significant crop for consumption. Pursuit of higher yields for agriculture, erased ancient varieties with only remains of a handful of seeds now used. During the 20th century, the idea of genetics and laws of inheritance were applied to breeding wheat.

We hope to create an educational, informative installation that highlights the beauty of grains and the anatomy of breads. Through the art of baking, a few simple ingredients can transform into deeply flavorful bread and feed many. Because bread feels so common to us, we often take it for granted. By examining the science of wheat, corn, and rice bread, we hope to deepen spectators’ knowledge and appreciation for bread as well as the bread making process.

We plan to create a poster and photograph each ingredient and the final product of the bread. Then as a group we will arrange the pictures together with photoshop and illustrator. We plan to bake in the morning, let the bread ferment, bake, and then photograph next Thursday.