In her performance titled Seedbed, Amato combined two childhood memories from her upbringing in Australia within an immigrant family household: the first of her mother using her body to make bread dough, the other, her mother dyeing her clothes black on news that her father had passed away in Italy.
A common sight for Amato growing up was witnessing her mother using her whole body to knead dough on the kitchen table to feed the family. When the dough was ready, Amato’s mother would put the dough in a large bowl and lead Amato and her siblings into Amato’s bedroom, placing the bowl on her bed while covering the bowl of dough with her bed blankets. She would then shuffle Amato and her siblings out of the room, shutting the bedroom door behind them whispering, “Keep quiet! The dough is sleeping”. The fascination of the dough doubling in size while ‘sleeping’ always captivated young Amato.
The other childhood memory Amato has combined to create Seedbed is watching her mother boil up a big pot on the kitchen stove when she received a phone call stating that her father had passed away in Italy. She proceeded to put her clothes into the pot, one by one, to dye them black to wear over the coming year as a sign of mourning her father’s death; black being the colour of mourning in the Italian culture and the only time it is (was) seen appropriate to wear this colour.
Amato created 40lbs of bread dough (the approximate weight she would have been when witnessing her mother dye her clothes as a sign of mourning) to place into a bowl that sat waiting on a single bed. Wearing a black Labour and Birthing Hospital Gown bought off Etsy, Amato walked away, leaving the dough to “sleep” while it continued to perform for the public without the body present.
Seedbed references Vito Acconci’s 1972 performance of the same name, subverting, while reclaiming, the uterus as the ultimate seedbed. The performance was held on June 16th, 2019 at Dfbrl8r in the Zhou B Arts Center in Chicago, as part of the Bubbly Creek Performance Art Assembly, a performance festival celebrating the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago and homage to Chicago’s rich labor and immigrant history, curated by Angeliki Tsoli. The remains of the performance were left in the gallery to ‘decay’ as part of the Visual Art Exhibition component of the performance festival, until July 12th, 2019.