Kate Southworth, Patrick Simons: Cultural_Capital

  • ©2009, Kate Southworth and Patrick Simons, Cultural_Capital



Artist(s) and People Involved:


Creation Year:



    Sour dough starter

Artist Statement:

    Drawing parallels between the use of bacteria and culture in traditional breadmaking and the generative condition of network art, Cultural_ Capital is a transformational artwork in which a sour-dough starter is created and grown from the bacteria generally present in the air of the gallery, and is cared for by the curators.

    The artwork gives attention to the role of curator as carer. In their 2006 text ‘On Misanthropy’ Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacker note that ’[t]he act of curating not only refers to the selection, exhibition, and storage of artefacts, but it also means doing so with care, with particular attention to their presentation in an exhibit or catalogue. Both “curate” and “curator” derive from the Latin curare (to care), a word, which is itself closely related to cura (cure). Curate, care, cure.’(1) The starter is very fragile. Without care it will die. The curators literally care for the artwork: keeping it alive, and passing it on safely to the curators at the next venue.

    Theoretically, cultural capital (Bourdieu 1979/1984) is the social power collected around the producer, collector or owner of highly valued objects. Cultural capital turns ordinary objects into works of art and gives them ‘symbolic power’: it has its own currency and brings its own opportunities.


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