Alumni Resident Alicia Mersy is an artist and filmmaker of Lebanese/French origin who lives and works in New York. Her work uses the camera to connect to people and to the divine, by forging pathways towards personal and collective peace within a world of infinite production and boundless orientation. Mersy draws from big phenomena including the natural sciences, global capitalism, and the infinitude of galactic spirituality to explore decolonial aesthetics and political resistance. Her approach to new media, photography, and installation creates space for conversations surrounding self-representation, social, class guilt politics, and the resistance of repressive global structures. Mersy received an MA in Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins in 2015. Alongside collaborator Tabita Rezaire, Mersy is the co-founder of Malaxa art office, a creative agency whose work explores decolonial aesthetics and political resistance through digital culture, art, and documentary. Alicia Mersy’s work has been featured in exhibitions at The Institute of Contemporary Arts (London, UK), Tel Aviv Museum of Art (TLV, Israel), and The Migros Museum of Contemporary Art (Zurich, Switzerland).
In this cooking tutorial video by Mersy and her partner, Loren Abramovich, they lead us on a walkthrough of the thousands-year-old tradition of Torshi pickling. Their approach to the process draws from a spiritualism and acknowledgement of cosmic energy held within each ingredient and cooking tool, channeling a transformative intentionality through each step. As physical interactions with people have become scarce, Mersy sees the preparation and act of feeding people a healing and therapeutic act. The ingredients for the dish are low in cost, widely available, and, when pickled, can stay fresh for several months.
During her 2018 Tech Residency we worked with Alicia Mersy to create Auric Desert Oasis (2018), an interactive video piece and sculpture drawing on the artist’s archive of video and still portraits of close friends and acquaintances. Set in a virtual reconstruction of the Sinai Desert, the video-game-like environment acts as navigable terrain, where the unique energies and wisdoms found in each subject coalesce in an auric collage. The sculpture acts as a table and bed piece that welcomes visitors to sit and “play” the piece together using a wireless video-game controller. Food and drink also play a prominent role in this work as tea and torshi set on the table act as an binding element for those watching and actively navigating the visual environment.
For more food projects by Loren Abramovitch and Alicia Mersy check out @lev.nyc on Instagram.