Agnieszka Pokrywka – [LAB 3 residency – August 18 to September 1]
Agnieszka Pokrywka is a Polish multimedia explorer based in Helsinki, Finland.
The meaning of culture varies according to the scope which it describes. In microscale it’s an experimental growth and fermentation of microorganisms in a culture medium. In mesoscale it’s a cultivation of soil and plants. In macroscale it’s a totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. Ferment Lab explores these overlapping themes with the intention to facilitate participatory approaches and foster social change for local communities. By careful research on fermented local food and situation of the given community Ferment Lab aims to induct a gentle and long-lasting social change by taking an inspiration from bacterial transformations. Those two processes are more similar than one could think. The fermentation, whether in culinary or social art practice, is about creating conditions for a constant transformation to take place. Both cases are initiated by unremarkable meeting (whether of mono-cellular organisms or human beings) which little by little brings a signifcant change to their surroundings dependent on the specifc environment (whether it’s longevity and taste of food or more active attitude of the social group). Both fermentations can keep going continuously and be propagated by repetition and variation if treated with care and intentionality. Each case generates a social and a cultural wealth while involving an interplay between agitation, quiet observation and the qualities of the surrounding. There are no strict recipes. They have to be found by observation and testing.
Ferment Lab aims to be conducted in various locations in order to collect parallel stories of food and social transformation, transplant gained recipes into other contexts and experiment with raising expertise in social fermentation. One of the planned implementation of Ferment Lab is going to happen in Finland, in collaboration with Pixelache Helsinki, a transdisciplinary platform for experimental art, design, research and activism and is scheduled for years 2015-16. Another Ferment Lab is going to take place from October to December 2015 in Taiwan, hosted by Treasure Hill Artist Village, environmentally sustainable urban community in Taipei.
At the end Ferment Lab plans to present its fndings from different locations in comparative manner in the form of a cookbook of social fermentation.
Ferment Lab wants to free/open source information hidden in micro life of bacterias by simply revealing, exposing and reusing its mechanisms in makro culture of societies. Revealing by rescaling that’s “the nature of information”. There is no need for developing artifcial systems for positive change in the societies or superfcial solutions for happier ways of living. Information about how we should co-exist is coded in the natural processes, also in micro bacterial world. Ferment Lab Linz plans to follow such formed statement in 3 phases corresponding with 3 phases of bacterial fermentation:
1)Phase 1: Adaptation (approx. 5 days). The local recipes for a fermentation based food and active culture starters are gathered. Because of the length of infoDETOX residency I’m going to be focussed just on those recipes which can produce fermented products in 2 weeks. Also careful research on the situation of the local community is conducted. Detailed schedule for the Growth Phase is fnalized (pre-plan is expected to be made even before the start of the residency).
2)Phase 2: Growth Phase (approx. 7 days). The fndings of the frst phase are implemented in practice. The time needed for completion of fermented food is flled by public collaborative teaching, learning, workshoping, discussing, hacking inspired in case-sensitive manner by the transformative, unstoppable, gentle, calm, steady and natural process of fermentation itself. The implementation of the Stationary Phase is planned.
3)Phase 3: Stationary Phase (approx. 2 days). The results of food and social fermentation intertwines are presented in the form of open event. The experiences of Ferment Lab are archived so they can be reused during next editions of the project in different locations.