OS FERMENTATION is a slow-cooking class, a healing ritual, and a spiritual revival of interspecies collaborations and new networks of open-source micro-practices. It is part of EcoArtTech’s new series of social sculptures, titled EdibleEcologies, working collaboratively with local communities (human, bacterial, and ecological) to resuscitate historic food practices and facilitate recovery from a cultural memory disorder that we call “industrial amnesia.” In winter 2015, at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, we performed a four-part OS Fermentation Salon Series, including (1) a reading group about microbiology, public health, and the industrial food system, (2) a hands-on fermentation workshop for making veggie krauts, hard cider, and wine, (3) a fermentation tasting party, where participants enjoyed their creations in a communal setting, and (4) a gallery installation of microbial “selfies” and chalkboard notes made by participants.
We believe art can help people navigate the global health crisis, which we see also as a crisis of imagination, caused by the industrialization of food. OS Fermentation works with the public to revive the ancient practice of fermentation as an alternative to industrial processes of food preservation, such as refrigeration and pasteurization. Each jar of fermented veggies taken home by participants is its own unfolding, unfinished, interactive artwork, part of a future meal that will boost digestion and immunity, and a viral performance of food independence in a time when diet, nutrition, and humanity’s relationships with edible substances have been industrialized.
OS FERMENTATION events include performance, video, installations, workshops, prints, and tastings. The installation includes digital prints created by custom electronics and software that allow microbes to take their own “selfies” and add image manipulation effects to their images based on the shifting pH levels, oxygen, and color values of the fermentation process. The images below show our installation in FOODshed: Art & Agriculture in Action, curated by Amy Lipton, at both Smack Mellon (Brooklyn) and CR10 (Hudson Valley), which included free tastings of our home-made, non-industrial, non-conventional acclaimed fermented drinks, such as Coffee Banana Hard Cider, Strawberry Matcha Wine, and Blueberry Chocolate Kombucha.
OS Fermentation’s Microbial Selfies are digital prints created with custom electronics and software that allow microbes to take their own “selfies” and add image manipulation effects based on the shifting pH levels, oxygen, and color values of the fermentation process.or info about purchasing OS FERMENTATION prints. For more info about this project and for purchasing info, visit Selfies page.
Online Press: Hyperallergic / Association for the Study of Literature and Environment