my dried hot drinks

my dried hot drinks (2019-present) is an ongoing, multidimensional practice that uses dried coffee grounds, tea leaves, yerba mate and herbal infusions to explore the tensions of my implicit human subjectivity and my desires to be in allyship with nonhuman materials.

As an out-of-balance biosphere is pushing back on contemporary human ways of living through fires, infectious diseases and extreme weather, we are acutely reminded of our species’ precarious position in this relational place. At the same time, we are invited to move towards a more balanced relationship with the planet, one in which the livelihoods of all entities are always already inextricable.

Human being is just one way of being; if the world is to flourish in the face of this unprecedented age of anthropogenic climate change, the extractive perspectives of dominant political ecologies must be re-oriented in recognition of how we are intertwined with the entities of all systems of life. A truly global notion of ecological justice must be advanced.

My efforts to practice a more world-centered way of thinking join a chorus of Indigenous ecologies, ancestral cosmologies and other historically non-dominant intellectual traditions. In this work I endeavor to think from and along side materials – rather than about them – as I reflect deeply on the contemporary challenges of living in harmony with the world.

Throughout the development of my dried hot drinks, I have come to recognize all the materials I work with, indeed all things in this world, to be their own entities, alive with vitality and agency as they go through the continuous changes of life.
As expressed by anthropologist Tim Ingold, our species is always experiencing direct exchanges with all things; 
my seeing things is the way things see through me, my hearing them is the way they hear through me, my feeling them is the way they feel through me.

Photography has become an emerging part of my practice as the materials of my dried hot drinks have asked me to frame the lyrical movements present in the layers of each jar through the lens of the camera. Likewise, looking at the lively exchanges between one jar with another, photographic documentation offers a moment to focus and reflect on our coexistence; human beings, flora, fauna and all materials in one shared place.
Acknowledging the ground beneath our feet as a consistent thread in my thinking, and I am encouraged to see the Earth’s geological layers reflected in these images. Stretching down for many miles, the layers of the planet contain a timespan that is much greater than our own. They tell a story of the Earth and reflect how humans have impacted it. We are at once a key player and nothing but a blip in an infinite world of lively entities.


There is a kind of unraveling of self-importance the more one becomes aware of everything else that occurs around and within oneself, the more one understands, as you say, one’s personal smallness, but also one’s fundamental connection to almost everything, a connection we don’t often recognize but which is more satisfying, in the long run, than self-affirmation. This is an affirmation of belonging to the world, to nature, to society, to others, and not just of one’s domination of these domains.

—Elizabeth Gorsz

my dried hot drinks: A meditation

Step 1: Slow down and brew yourself a hot drink. Enter into your response to the climate crisis.

Step 2: Consume the drink and sit quietly, taking time and care to breathe, listen, grieve, and observe the emotions in your body.
Step 3: Spread the tea leaves, coffee grounds, or other drink matter out to dry. As you get to know these materials, recognize their contributions to your state of being, and how they sustain you.

Step 4: Once dry, collect the drink matter into a transparent vessel, to hold on to the moments they offered you.

The result may look much like the materials you started with; it may feel futile.

Step 5: Repeat daily and witness the drinks as they accumulate. Observe from as many angles as possible.
As your meditation evolves, reflect on other ways of being in the world. Follow the material to develop a relationship to this place built on a mutual recognition of all entities. In the alternate landscapes that emerge we may depart from our human exceptionalism and work towards a truly global conception of ecological justice.


Eat With Your Eyes, Gallery 263 (Cambridge, MA), juried by Silvia Bottinelli
Reimagining Our World: Rejected Materials Reinvented
, LexArt: Lexington Arts & Crafts Society (Lexington, MA), curated by Martha Heller and Adriana G. Prat for i3C Artists

Metamorphosis: Artistic Visions for a Resilient Planet, Scollay Gallery, Boston City Hall (Boston, MA), curated by Rebecca McGee Tuck for i3C Artists
The Non-Human is Pushing Back, Piano Craft Gallery (Boston, MA), participant and co-curator with Jeffrey Nowlin and Adriana G. Prat for i3C Artists
Then and Now: UVA’s 10 Year Retrospective, Arthaus Gallery (Allston, MA), curated by Emelia Misail and Jennifer Turpin for Unbound Visual Arts
Harvard Staff Art Show, Countway Library (Boston, MA)
Inspiring Change for the Climate Crisis, Brickbottom Gallery: Brickbottom Artists Association (Somerville, MA), curated by Adriana G. Prat for i3C Artists

Inspiring Change for the Climate Crisis – Art Inspired by Climate Science: A Call to Action, Belmont Gallery of Art (Belmont, MA), curated by Adriana G. Prat for i3C Artists | View virtual gallery on exhibition website
Meditations on the Climate Crisis: Inspiring Change 2022, honeyjones Gallery (Cambridge, MA), curated by Adriana G. Prat for i3C Artists
Inspiring Change for the Climate Crisis, Arthaus Gallery, Unbound Visual Arts

Self-Preservation: A Complex Human Instinct, Unbound Visual Arts (Virtual), curated by Cecilia Christman


Read about an installation of my dried hot drinks at Piano Craft Gallery in Fenway News, October 2023.

Watch a brief interview on my dried hot drinks at Belmot Gallery of Art, aired by the Belmont Media Center, January 2023.

my dried hot drinks: Process

Brewing specialty coffees, loose leaf teas, tisanes and other infusions has been a regular morning ritual of mine since adolescence. Heating the water and preparing the organic matter is a moment of personal communion to start my day, to feel grounded within the greater Earth body that sustains me. 

Since 2019, I have recorded what I brew each morning, dried out the coffee grounds, tea leaves, mate flakes, etc. and saved the drink matter in repurposed glass jars. As more of my energies have gone into learning about climate change, this daily practice has become a means of self-care, to cope in the face of natural devastation and grieve for those disproportionately impacted by its effects.

In this inward response to the climate crisis that wrestles with the complicity of my being in the world, I have experimented with embedding the dried drink matter in handmade papers and coating these sheet in wax, as well as activating them through the lens of the camera. There is a definite bitterness towards my inherited human exceptionalism that seems to have led me to capturing the drinks for my own purposes, but as the days pass and I spend more time with these materials, I feel as though they are inching me ever closer towards an understanding of interbeing with the rest of life.
Looking deeply into your tea, you see that you are drinking fragrant plants that are the gift of Mother Earth. You see the labor of the tea pickers; you see the luscious tea fields and plantations in Sri Lanka, China, and Vietnam. You know that you are drinking a cloud; you are drinking the rain. The tea contains the whole universe.
—Thích Nhất Hạnh