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All Pib Slow Play is a decelerationist music and food programming series. The project sets cumbia rebajada (slowed cumbia) to the cooking of tamales using an earth oven—the Pib.
Words and images courtesy of Giguel Maybach.
All Pib Slow Play synthesized after learning about Rosalia Chay Chuc’s traditional cooking methods in the Yucatán, which sparked memories of my family’s tamales and pib cooking in southwestern Guatemala. Revisiting cumbia rebajada videos, I saw potential in combining the pib’s ancient slow cooking techniques with cumbia rebajada’s intoxicating rhythms.
All Pib Slow Play is an iterative experiment: hybridizing forms and methods, collaborating across disciplines, researching Mesoamerica’s Indigenous history and reconnecting with family, and sharing the story behind familiar dishes like tamales.
Storytelling remains central to descendants of Indigenous groups across the Americas, whose traditions saved aspects of their culture in the languages of, and from, colonizing powers. These histories of creative subversion center the critical role of oral culture that thrives in communal spaces like kitchens, bailes (clubs), and the streets.
All Pib Slow Play is an investigation of the potential for socio-ecological interfaces. It brings together nature and culture, the ancient and contemporary, through living forms—from the ground beneath our feet to sounds reverberating down city blocks. While All Pib Slow Play Volume I was about sharing food on a farm and broadcasting on Local Radio, this summer’s version, Del Suelo al Cielo (From Soil to Sky), centers around a social sculpture melding soundsystem and grill in Cactus Store’s NY garden as an experience in deceleration.
A pib (pronounced ‘peeb’ in Yucatec Mayan) is an earth oven of the Yucatán peninsula thought to have a pre-Hispanic origin. It consists of digging a hole, lighting a fire, and heating stones to cook food, all covered with soil. Ricardo Muñoz explains:
“The Maya used to have very detailed history books. But when the Spaniards came, they burned thousands of them. So they had to pass all the information by mouth. When the Maya cook a cochinita pibil, it is a very religious, ancient moment. The moment they put the pot under the ground, it means you are giving back to the earth what you took from the earth.”
Akin to many children of immigrants, I’m estranged from unknown parts of my family’s cultural traditions. How do we find recipes for dishes we’ve never made, from people we’ve never met? All Pib Slow Play imagines what these recipes and traditions could be—a diasporic assembly of memories, lineages, and lives.
The collective interpretation of ancient recipes and rhythms, and the sharing of these ephemeral and cross-cultural forms of gathering, offer a way of building grounds for hybrid identities and futures. All Pib Slow Play is a chance to move slower with and closer to the earth through a mixing of sounds, flavors, and links lost and found. Digging beneath the surface of our daily accelerationist culture, pib and rebajada methods come together to manipulate time and space, unearthing moments in cavities of potential.
Over the next two weeks, Del Suelo al Cielo (From Soil to Sky): All Pib Slow Play Vol. II, can be visited for free at Cactus Store’s space in the Lower East Side. The sculpture consists of a working soundsystem and barbecue that will host live music by Chuquimamani-Condori (f.k.a. Elysia Crampton), DJ sets, and a pop-up with Mmundo and the Street Vendor Project. The installation can be visited from:
Thursday, August 3–Sunday, August 13
5 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002
To schedule a private viewing of Del Suelo al Cielo, email the artist at: email@example.com
Tickets for the main event on August 5 can be bought on Eventbrite. The full series of events that will be hosted in this space include:
ABOUT THE PRACTICE
Giguel Maybach is an artist and designer producing interdisciplinary projects across physical and digital media, focused on integrating ecology into art and design practice, products, and pedagogy. Past and ongoing collaborations include graphics for Ilja Karilampi, an identity and signage strategy for OMA, an internet station on Project Eats’ farms, a debut publication for S.A Mayer, and an office garden website with Terremoto.
You can find more information on the All Pib Slow Play website and listen to last year’s mixes on Soundcloud and Mixcloud. This project was conceptualized by Giguel Maybach in collaboration with Alarico Montoya, Jeemin Shim, and Zoila Coc-Chang. Thanks to Andrea Bonin, Cactus Store and Nonhuman Teachers, Christian Cummings, Eduardo Reyes, Joe Valle, John Sampson, John Verdery, Nick Boso,Tony Lowe, Zack Wangeman and Sobre Masa for design, fabrication, and production support.