Culinary Ghosting: A Journey Through a Sweet and Sour Iraq

Ella Shohat


Ella Shohat tell us about the work of Michael Rakowitz and his three art and culinary projects that comment on the transnational flow of images and sounds, of smells and tactile impressions intermingled with the ashes of war and multiple displacements. Iraqi food and its relation with displacement, return, war, visibility are the subjects of the projects and of Shohat’s analysis. Through the prism of the culinary, Rakowitz’s Iraq cooking projects create an archive of recipes and cultural knowledge in motion. They are also tales of the ghosts of departed communities. The complex Iraqi experience conveyed in bittersweet stories seems to perfectly resonate with the culinary genre hamed-helu, composed of the dissonant harmony between sweet and sour properties. Remembering Iraq through culinary acts transforms the absentees into a palpable presence, through the collective process of dining and dialoguing. Ghosting food thus testifies simultaneously to the disappearance but also to imaginary returns.


War. Art. Culinary. Diaspora. Iraq.

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R. crít. cult., Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina, Santa Catarina, ISSN 1980-6493

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