In addition to uncovering John Podesta's secret creamy risotto recipe, the WikiLeaks hack has also linked the Clinton campaign chairman to something called "Spirit Cooking," which has fueled conspiracy theorists on Twitter into thinking the campaign is into some "bizarre occult ritual."
In a 2015 email sent to Tony Podesta—John's brother—Abramović invites the two to a dinner at her house and references "Spirit Cooking." The term comes from a project the performance artist did back in 1996 in which she painted surrealist cookbook instructions on the sides of gallery walls in pigs' blood. At one Italian gallery, the artists painted instructions like: "Mix fresh / breast milk / with / fresh semen milk / drink on earthquake nights."
Now, of course, thousands of right-wing conspiracy theorists are linking John Podesta, who did not even attend the dinner, to Satanism, over an apolitical and harmless artistic technique.
Conspiracist theorists have hooked onto its alleged occult origins, but really, the piece about "aphrodisiac recipes" is as much influenced by, say, Alastair Crowley as it is Bruce Nauman. Included alongside evidently triggering allusions to "fresh breast milk and fresh semen milk" are such deeply insidious suggestions to "listen to the heartbeat of a dog," mix "13 leaves of uncut green cabbage with 13,000 grams of jealousy," and dine on "night dreams" for breakfast, "day dreams" for lunch, and "evening dreams" for dinner.
In a statement issued to the Creators Project and VICE, Abramović wrote that they did, in fact, have a dinner, "which Tony Podesta attended and which John was invited to but could not attend."
"Tony Podesta is a longstanding friend of mine," Abramović stated. "These comments relating to his brother John are absurd. I have never met John Podesta. I am astonished and appalled that references to my work are being misrepresented in this way to use for political capital."
Additional reporting by Emerson Rosenthal of the Creators Project, VICE's arts and culture site.
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