Humus Sapiens - Workshop
Fermenting Speculative Food (Hi)stories
hands-on fermentation & speculative fiction workshop
with Markéta Dolejšová and Maya Minder
The workshop invites you to experiment with various hands-on fermentation techniques and make your own jars with microbial delicacies like kombucha and kefir. Workshop initiators Maya and Markéta will share methods, ideas, grains, and scobies that they gathered during their fermented trips around Indonesia, Singapore, Switzerland, Bohemia, or Tasmania.
Understanding fermentation as an intrinsically speculative act, we will complement the hands-on workshop with collaborative crafting of fictional food stories. Using techniques drawn from speculative and critical design (e.g. http://speculative.hr/en/introduction-to-speculative-design-practice/), we will explore the diverse and uncertain histories of the age-old fermentation tradition and extend them with our own speculative interpretations.
In the Caucasus people say that kefir was first made by Gods who ejaculated into the milk. Chinese rice wine makers prevent their wine jars to come in contact with menstruating women. The blood, they believe, is too disturbing for the yeast. Many Bohemian fermenters talk nicely to their bubbling jars to help the ferments grow.
But what if all that isn’t exactly true? What if rice wine yeast actually loves blood? What do all those Bohemians actually whisper to their ferments - are they using their jars as cheaper microbial psychotherapists whom they tell all their heavy stories? And why would someone harass a milk like that? Since we weren’t there when those myths happen and we cannot fully inhabit the past, we cannot know. But we can speculate about it.
At the workshop, we will craft our own versions of past, present, and future food mythologies. Each fermented jar will be complemented by a scenario describing not only what the jar is, but also imagining what it could be. Alongside such fictionalizing, our jars will become fermented prototypes of speculative food realities; embodying our own handmade edible mythologies.
To further support our imagination, we will use the Food Tarot cards deck (http://materie.me/foodparlour) that presents 22 ‘speculative diet tribes’ symbolizing various experimental ‘not quite yet’ food practices. Food Tarot tribes such as Gut Gardeners, Monsa[n]tanists, and Ethical Cannibals raise questions about the complex, messy realities of everyday food worlds and provoke imaginaries about possible alternatives. Workshop participants are welcomed to contribute their fermentation resources - edible, practical, or imaginary. Bring and share your own ferments, instruments, ideas, techniques and anything else that makes up your fermentation practice.