26964770052_2d0d26c0a4_zTable of plenty 

A part of the alternative education programme “Everything Under The Sun”, that merges the fields of food and art under the issues of climate change through an interdisciplinary, experimental approach. Curated by Ece Pazarbasi and  Caique Tizzi in the Agora collective, Neuekölln, Berlin.

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Kultivator led a module with 12 participants in this programme, choosing to focus on the refugee situation. From Kultivator’s perspective, the changes in everyday life due to the migration of people is one of the effects of climate change that so far has had the biggest impact on society as a whole, as well as on Kultivator’s home village and farm. This movement is big right now, but as climate change continuous, the amount of people having to re-locate themselves will only grow. With the 12 great participants of chefs, artists and activists from all over the world, the aim was to create an artistic response to the possibilities and challenges that this presents.

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We were particularly interested in the changing cultures of food; like organisation of meals, economy, ownership, manual labor, social aspects and the mix of traditions and recipes.The north has since long benefitted from influences from all over the world in their kitchens. Berlins Neuekölln and Kreuzberg districts are evidence of a great wealth in food culture, from street food to restaurants, or as in Agora; cosmopolitan, artist-run cafes. In the many street markets there is an abundance of produce.

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In the same areas people are living in refugee camps, at the moment extremely overpopulated, with no possibilities for people to prepare food or eat as they wish. With only one week to work with, we set out to cook something from these ingredients.

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The “cooking” process started with visits to inspiring initiatives, activist groups and kitchens, and two different camps for asylum seekers. With the people we met, and in our group, we decided that we wanted to create a situation of sharing and discussion with people that are in the asylum seeking process, and together with them create something that could serve as a template for future community events at Agora cafe.

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As we discussed the project with local street vendors, an overwhelming lot were more than willing to join by donating bread, vegetables, fruit and other produce nearly out of date. In one evening’s gathering, we collected more than enough material for a huge dinner. We could invite the people we had met in the refugee camps, Tempelhof (at the time housing a thousand people) and Berlin Stadtbadhaus (around 300) to share the kitchen and social space of Agora with us for one evening.

The event was named “Table of plenty”, referring to both the overfull table of food material, and the chefs and guests from many backgrounds. The evening went over all expectations.

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The connections made between people locally in Neuekölln, and the map of where to find food and the new experiences and knowledge sharing of kitchen skills, could be one small step in preparation for a world that is changing, not only for the worse.

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Kultivator was founded in 2005 by visual artists Mathieu Vrijman and Malin Lindmark Vrijman and farmer Maria Lindmark and Henric Stigborn. Since 2007 the visual artist Marlene Lindmark is also a member. Kultivator initiates and implements projects, exhibitions, public commissions and workshops with members and/or invited groups and the public. Kultivator’s collaborative practice is based on an open and creative process, and the content is characterized by an interest in sustainability, democracy and learning. Kultivator is based on Öland in Sweden where they have an exhibition hall, a guest studio and an organic dairy farm with 30 cows, chickens, ducks, sheep and horses.

Since its inception in 2005, around 80 artists, scientists, students and farmers have visited and worked with Kultivator on Öland. Besides self-initiated projects, Malin, Mathieu and Marlene also regularly work with art, new media and facilitation at Öland Folkhögskola.

More information: www.kultivator.org

Text: Kultivator