“Are you in NYC Thursday July 9 Marina wants you to come to dinner.” So reads an email to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta from his brother Tony, sent last year and published recently on WikiLeaks as part of a massive hack of John Podesta’s inbox.
The “Marina” in question is noneother than Marina Abramović, and the dinner was a reward to top donors who had helped the Serbian performance artist successfully fund her Kickstarter campaign to launch the Marina Abramović Institute. Tony Podesta, besides being a prominent lobbyist, is also a major art collector and was apparently among those who had pledged $10,000 to support the future of long durational work.
Now, right-wing publications have pegged John Podesta as a Satanist who engages in blood rituals and cannibalism — and, of course, Hillary Clinton and her entire circle (because you are a Satanist simply by association, naturally). As the Drudge Report tweeted last week, “WIKI WICCAN: PODESTA PRACTICES OCCULT MAGIC.” And from Infowars: “SPIRIT COOKING”: CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN PRACTICES BIZARRE OCCULT RITUAL.” But how does an invitation to dinner with Marina suggest Satanism?
Wikileaks exposed the satanic cult around Hillary Clinton! Emails between marina abramovic and tony podesta shows, the podesta brothers have been invited to #spiritcooking this is some weird stanic ritual where people literally bathe in urine, sperm, breastmilk, blood – and other people eating from it!! Do you want people like this near your nuclear codes???? ? Check out my Friends… ? @switzerlandawakening @synchromystic_hops @lookingforthetruth @_libertas_ For our Plane(t) ? ✊? #spiritcooking #with #hillary #she #is #satanic #freak #clinton #freemason #marinaabramovic #satan #lucifer #occult #ritual #election #2016 #usa #america #illuminati #demon #lightbringer #god #bible #nwo #newworldorder #deathcult #worldwar3 #killuminati #instagram #wikileaks
“Spirit Cooking.” These were the magic words that set off the fast-typing fingers of alt-right writers, always sniffing for seeds for the sensational to blare in all-caps. Part of the leaked email chain reveals that Abramović had told Tony Podesta she was “so looking forward to the Spirit Cooking dinner at my place. Do you think you will be able to let me know if your brother is joining?” Another leaked exchange reveals John Podesta had also invited Abramović to attend Clinton’s official campaign launch last June.
Dinner, as detailed on Kickstarter, involved a simple lesson on “how to cook a series of traditional soups.” But Spirit Cooking is also the title of a series of performances Abramovic staged in the ’90s. It involved her painting with pigs’ blood; people were quick to find published video footage from a 1997 that shows Abramovic painting phrases on the wall such as, “MIX FRESH BREAST MILK WITH FRESH SPERM MILK” and “WITH A SHARP KNIFE CUT DEEPLY INTO THE MIDDLE FINGER OF YOUR LEFT HAND EAT THE PAIN.”
This, combined with the discovery of a photo from a 2014 Vogue Ukraine spread of Abramović holding a bloody goat’s head — interpreted as Baphomet — led to “Spirit Cooking” defined by the alt-right as “an occult practice used during sex cult rituals.” That’s, at least, how Mike Cernovich of Danger & Play put it — and Cernovich, unfortunately, has a terrifying influence over Trump supporters, as chronicled in his recent New Yorker profile, rallying them to churn out ridiculous, anti-Clinton memes. Cernovich cites as evidence Abramović’s book, “Spirit cooking with essential aphrodisiac recipes,” which contains the recipes she daubed in blood in the video — as well as more tame, abstruse ones like, “spit inside your navel/until the lake is filled/lie motionless/listen to the heartbeat/of a dog.” As the Museum of Modern Art describes it, the recipes “serve as evocative instructions for actions or thoughts.”
But Cernovich also refers to NSFW footage from Abramović’s plans for the 2011 Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles gala, which shows revelers carving up and eating cakes designed to resemble Abramović and Debbie Harry. That gala had then drawn controversy because choreographer Yvonne Rainer had spoken out about its exploitation of performers, but now it’s sparking something quite new: in the words of Cernovich, it showcased “symbolic acts of cannibalism.” And so we also have the headline, “SPIRIT COOKER MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ GAVE MAX DONATION TO HILLARY CLINTON,” courtesy Information Liberation, who sees the $2,700 donation as “another badge of honor for Donald Trump.”
John Podesta, it turns out, never attended the soup-filled dinner, as ARTnews reported — but hey, who has time for such minor details? And, surprising no one, Abramović is not a Satanist.
“It was just a normal dinner,” as she told ARTnews. “It was actually just a normal menu, which I call spirit cooking. There was no blood, no anything else. We just call things funny names, that’s all.
“Anybody who wants can read my memoirs and find out that [my work] is far away from Satanism. My work is really more about spirituality and not anything else. I’ve been doing my work for so long, and this is a misunderstanding.”
So, it’s totally chill if Trump trolls bathe in pig’s blood; meanwhile, the internet is overrun with #SpiritCooking memes. “Hold a python on your lap/while sitting on a block of ice” — Abramović’s recipe for “AGAINST HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE” seems pretty handy right about now.