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Natalie Zajac

Grad Student
Environmental Art + Social Practice MFA Candidate

Grew up a Chicago native, in a neighborhood that bridged nature and concrete. Part of my studio is my kitchen, and my kitchen continues to expand beyond 4 corners. My work speaks from experience in the languages of love and tragedy in the making, consuming, and sharing of food. Utilizing photography, site specific sculpture, and plant foraging to document relationships between human and non-human inhabited environments, familiarity and foreignness of the land that I inhabit versus the land of my ancestral-resided nation, and nostalgia as chronicled via technological archives that simultaneously separate and bind us to present and past moments.

I find myself constantly walking the line of experiencing and reevaluating technological algorithms that uphold complex systems of harm. Within this, I look at how media platforms, laws, and health systems try to quantify human experience, community, and a life’s worth in the culture of capitalism and individualism. Researching how instant gratification is commodified, and how it erases the knowledge of social, environmental, and community origin of its product in the final stages of consumption. I’m finding how food language can travel across space, time, and lineage as a cultural embedment of our individual and collective, bodily and environmental archives.