Ryan Dennison

“Ch'iyáán ájiił'įįhígíí doo hodits'a’” 

(The way one prepares food and sound)

Field recording(s) of a performance in collaboration with my kindergarten students at David Skeets Elementary. The class is an indigenous culinary education, reintroducing traditional foods to our youth, and engaging the community in Indigenous Food Sovereignty. The food production and preparation is a way of passing cultural knowledge and an active resistance to colonizing forces. Empowering our traditional knowledge systems and utilizing the adaption of tools to connect our relationship with land and environment is the intent of the class, Food is Medicine.

Bridging indigenous culinary education with sound art, contact microphones are attached to Diné traditional culinary utensils. The composition is the recipe, making blue corn mush while the students primarily Navajo, Zuni, Ute and Apache students taste what they hear.

Installation in NYC

The installation was a listening station at Loisiada Center, New York City, NY for the “Future Now, Futura Ahora” curated by Atomic Culture.

It featured a booklet of pictures and recipe with score and field recordings of the performance in collaboration with the kindergarten students at David Skeets Elementary. Released on deepwhitesound.com.

“Sometimes I get asked about mixing traditions with art and ceremony with work. I don’t recreate ceremonies, I reimagine ceremony, not the result but the process of it. How my work is similar to ceremony is you establish the intention of transformation, the responsibility of respect with relationships and reciprocity. And you bring all of those into your work, and anyone who enters the work become implicated by it, by their participation. Through that process, we as artists use our art work as containers for narratives that hold metaphors. The work is about positioning the metaphor of shared meaning and media making for a lack of a better word, that’s a ceremonial process. I’m trying to honor, who I am, where I’m from and my knowledge systems, not in a anthropological context."

Listening station at Loisiada Center, New York City, NY for the “Future Now, Futura Ahora” curated by Atomic Culture.

Diné Culinary Education – 2016
Instructed by Ryan Dennison
Assisted by Julia Nacki
Collaboration with kindergarten Navajo Class of David Skeets Elementary, Chichiltah, NM – Navajo Nation”

Recipe from 1960s Navajo Curriclum

Using Format