The Herbologies/Foraging Networks programme of events, focused in Helsinki (Finland) and Kurzeme region of Latvia, explores the cultural traditions and knowledge of herbs, edible and medicinal plants, within the contemporary context of online networks, open information-sharing, biological and hydroponic technologies.
The traditions of finding and knowing about wild food in the local Nordic environment are slipping away from the current generation. How can one attract their attention: With books, online maps, workshops, mobile-guided tours, open-source information or DNA code? Or learn how to grow them yourself, over the dark winter months?
The Pixelache Festival events introduce the different meeting points between the three collaborating partners, including seminar presentations by international artists and Finnish botanical experts; workshops sharing that knowledge with the public; a round-table discussion about foraging in the urban context; and a localised manifestation of the Windowfarms Project
Following, in a midsummer expedition to rural Kurzeme, Western Latvia, SERDE Interdisciplinary Art Group will lead fieldwork to learn about the cultural heritage of Balts using wild plants, and create documents for the younger ‘digital native’ generation.
PIXELACHE PROGRAMME OF EVENTS
As part of Pixelversity / Pixelache Helsinki Festival
Saturday-Sunday 20-21.2.2010, Kiasma ‘takaikkuna’, 12.00-18.00.
Friday 26.3.2010, Kerava Art Museum (Camp Pixelache), time to be confirmed.
Contribution to DIY/Bio-tech/Open-source Hardware theme with presentation by Niko Punin (FI) of ‘LetsGrowIt’.
Saturday 27.3.2010, Kiasma Seminar Room, 13.00-16.45.
Featuring Ossi Kakko (FI), Sirpa Kurppa (FI), Malin Lindmark Vrijman and Mathieu Vrijman of Kultivator (SE), Nina Nordström (FI), Andrew Gryf Paterson (SCO/FI), Sinikka Piippo (FI), Signe Pucena (LV), Christina Stadlbauer (AT/BE) and Jessica Suni (FI).
Saturday 27.3.2010, Kiasma Seminar Room, 17.30-19.00.
Hands-on lab and bio-political discussion, led by renowned bioartist Adam Zaretsky (US), on the difference between whole plant preparations and purified, ‘isolated’ extracts and risk assessment of intentional release ‘utilisation’ of Hybrid DNA.
Sunday 28.3.2010, Botanical Garden Kaisaniemi (Linkola & Elfving Rooms), 12.00-17.00.
Wild plant expert Ossi Kakko (FI) and artist-producer Signe Pucena (LV) will share traditional methods for processing herbs through fermentation (villivihannesten hapatuskurssi) and vodka tincture-making respectively.
Sunday 28.3.2010, Kiasma ‘taka-ikkuna’, 17.00-18.00.
The Window Farm installation will be dismantled, and distributed in segments to selected persons and organisations (make a bid!), including basic start-up hydroponic materials, and maybe even plants. This occasion will be accompanied by music from Helsinki-based electronica-dub group Dreadlock Tales, via head-phones or short-range FM transmitter.
Expeditions to Rucava, Kalvene, Alsunga, June 20-25, 2010.
An expedition of fieldwork will take place in small villages of Kurzeme region, building upon SERDE’s experience of engaging cultural heritage subjects as an arts organisation. Here the Herbologies/Foraging Networks project aims to preserve and document traditional cultural values related to herb-gathering in Latvia, promoting and developing a more diverse society than the traditional understanding of the cultural manifestations of the past and today, the identification and assignment needs.
Several persons from the assembled network: Kultivator (SE), Klaipeda Cultural Communication Centre (LT), Ossi Kakko (FI) as well as coordinators Andrew Gryf Paterson (SCO/FI) and Ulla Taipale (FI), are invited to Latvia from Sweden, Finland and Lithuania, along with Latvian experts, cultural workers and other documenters.
‘Documentation Sprint’, SERDE Art Residency Centre, Aizpute, June 26-30 2010.
Using a method from extreme software development and project management, ‘Sprints’ produce collectively-made artefacts (software, manuals, etc.) quickly over a set period of time.
In this case, several of the key invited collaborators will be invited to stay longer, to write up the fieldwork in the form of stories, charts, manuals, recipies, reports, diagrams, and process media or data. Several infomation and media experts will be invited from Riga to help with the process, as well as nomination of persons who would translate as much textual content as possible into the different regional languages (Latvian, Lithuanian, Russian, Finnish, Swedish, English).
The ambition of the sprint will be to make a proof layout of a new ‘Traditional Booklet’, published by SERDE, and online documentation, to be ready in September 2010.
The general production and all events in this programme are supported by an Art and Culture Production grant from Kultur Kontakt Nord. Windowfarms Finland production is supported by AVEK (The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture).
[*] Photo credits: Windowfarms Project – Nicholas R. Clark, Bee Observatory – Annemie Maes, Forest foraging – Ossi Kakko.