Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fermentation Is Yeasty Death

Fermentation is yeasty death. A body that burns becomes lifeless powder, but a body that ferments rots and and the room fills with unbearable stench. As it swells, there is a strange and fascinating rhyme between a belly that distends with swampy gasses and a belly swollen with a growing child. To the alchemists fermentation was full of digestion, pregnancy, and new life. A vessel called the uterus was considered best for fermentation, but alchemists also mimicked the womb by placing their sealed vessels in manure, and even by places vials in horses' vaginas. In general, vessels were sealed in imitation of the closed womb, and opened in imitation of Caesarean section...

- James Elkins
What Painting Is (143-144)

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