Feminist Art: Throw the Spaghetti Box

naughty-nice anne taintor Throw the spaghetti box!

It is pitch dark.

You throw it.

Did that little plastic thing just break off the camera?


It doesn’t matter.

This damned camera doesn’t work.

I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.”― Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin

Oh, Christopher, you were so dramatic!

There is no drama on the internet, except made-up drama.  Nothing is  “developed, carefully printed, fixed.”  All the hours we logged at online book groups may be stored in a cloud, but we will never recover them.

Two women stand in the wet grass trying to photograph a spaghetti box being thrown over and over into the recycling  bin.

No matter how often you throw the damned thing in the dark it’s  just a spaghetti box in a black rectangle.

IMG_3261It is a feminist symbol.

Spaghetti is what we cook when we’re rushed for time.

We serve it to friends who drop in.

We can stretch a meal endlessly with pasta.

Just toss it with spinach and cheese if you’re out of sauce.  Pasta is a source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, protein, iron, Vitamin B-6, and magnesium.

If it’s all there is in the house, you make do.

When the box is empty…

You have fed your family.

And you can be proud.

But you’re screwed because you can’t throw the box  away.

We daren’t throw the box in the trash.  We recycle it along with milk cartons, dish soap bottles, and cans.  I wonder how much of this cardboard and plastic and metal really makes it out of the landfill,  Mind you, I am an environmentalist:  I bicycle, ride the bus, and have never owned a car. I keep my carbon treadprint low.   But at this late moment in history, the future depends on the policies of oil companies, power companies, and car manufacturers  When we throw the spaghetti box, we are expressing our frustration.

Her husband is one of those trash detective types.  He got home very late at night and rebuked her when he found a spaghetti box in her trash. He likes to pretend he’s criticizing her for her own good, but the criticism never stops.  “It’s not good for you to eat spaghetti every night.”

“Every night?”  She was incredulous.

She spent four hours yesterday making a huge batch of delicious spaghetti sauce.  There were no complaints.

And so she is here, and the idea is to make a spaghetti box art installation.  Throwing the box over and over again. The idea is that throwing the box will make her feel the power of housewifery.  She cooks good food for her family and is breaking the cycle of …

We haven’t decided what  cycle she is breaking yet, but there are a lot of them.  Cycle of poverty, cycle of prayer, cycle of violence, cycle of economy, cycle of video addiction, cycle of letting go….

I like the cycle of letting go, except that really it’s the cycle of throwing the spaghetti box.

Tomorrow she’ll come back when it’s light with her iPhone and we’ll photograph throwing the box again.  We’re thinking we won’t be quite such good girls.  We won’t throw it into the bin at all.

But where?

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