Tools for Digestion

A text titled “Tools for Digestion” for Arena’s 2023 Annual publication on the theme of service accompanied by sculptures installed and photographed in my garden. Within life-sustaining labor in both domestic and industrial spheres, tools and processes operate as implement and a medium to produce, and reproduce culture. “Tool” is derived from the Proto-Indo-European dewh₂ meaning to fit, to tie, to secure. “Tool” is unique to English: other languages tend to use words describing the type of tool (ex: strumento or instrument in Italian) while Tool is etymologically imbued with interconnection. Tools can be an extension of the human body — either an implement or a vessel. The implement is an elongation, increasing the reach or exterior of the body, and the vessel an expansion, increasing the holding potential of the body. Both implements (a scythe for harvesting) and vessels (a crock for fermenting) operate as tools of reproduction and reproductive labor but also as sites for digestion.