Declaration of Land Use, Soil as Witness, 2015 / All photos: Monica Løvdahl, 2015.
Soil Procession : A MOVEMENT of Soil from the Country to the City by Farmers.
Temporary Public Intervention connected to permanent, public artwork, 2015
On June 13, 2015 a procession of farmers carried soil from their farms through the city of Oslo to its new home by the Oslo fjord. Soil Procession was a GROUND BUILDING ceremony that used the soil collected from over 50 Norwegian farms from as far north as Tromsø and as far south as Stokke, to build the foundation of the Flatbread Society Grain Field and a Declaration of Land Use for the commons that included an official naming of the site to Losæter. A procession of soil and people through Oslo drew attention to this historical, symbolic moment of the transition of a piece of land into a permanent stage for art and action related to food production.
At high noon, farmers gathered at the Oslo Botanical Gardens joined by city dwellers. Tractors, horses, wag-ons, wheelbarrows, musical instruments, voices, sheep, boats, backpacks and bikes processed to Losæter where the farmers’ soil offerings were laid out upon the site and a Land Declaration was signed.
A DECLARATION OF LAND USE FOR LOALLMENNINGEN IN BJØRVIKA
On this day of June 13, 2015
A NEW CULTURAL INSTITUTION
The establishment of Losæter at Loallmenningen marks a commitment to support farming as a key component within the cultural landscape of Bjørvika. By situating Losæter within this new waterfront development and alongside major cultural institutions, we embrace the understanding of farming as an art form.
We hereby declare that, Losæter, is a cultural commons. Drawing from the Norwegian word “Allmenning” which defines an area of land that is put aside by the state for recreational activities. Losaeter will hereforth support the free and open exchange of seeds, knowledge and relations grown on this site. The signing of this document will protect this practice from any encroaching law that may prohibit the cultivation, distribution and re-seeding of the biological matter grown upon this land.
FLATBREAD SOCIETY GRAIN FIELD
“We don’t need a museum for conserving varieties. What we want is to grow them.”
The urkorn planted here on the Flatbread Society Grain Field is an expression of this agreement. It represents resilience, durability and cultural expression. Unlike a museum, which collects and preserves artworks, Flatbread Society Grain Field is a museum without walls that preserves through the act of sharing and distributing cultural production, including
Farming, Art, Beekeeping, Seed Saving, Seed Cultivation, Seed Sharing, Composting, Baking, Knowledge Production and more
– Signatures –
Johan Swärd, Farmer, Vestre Aschim Gård
Amy Franceschini, Artist Futurefarmers / Flatbread Society Anne Beate Hovind, Commissioner, Slow Space Norway, Bjørvika Utvikling
Kjersti Kanestrøm Lie, Board Member, Herligheten, Allotment Collective
Regine Andersen, Oikos Økologisk Norway
Marius & Mikkel, Beekeepers, Oslo Apiary
One day a letter came for all of the farmers between Tromsø and Stokke, Norway, “Dear Farmers, will you come and visit us this summer? Best wishes Flatbread Society”.1
The letter made all the farmers very happy, and one of them hoped in his boat right away, to say thank you for the invitation. He took his daughter with him for company and off they went. They borrowed a horse from a friendly farmer for the last part of the journey, and the two of them arrived on a field in the middle of the city.
When the people of Oslo heard that all the farmers were coming from as far as Tromsø and Stokke to visit them, they immediately set about preparing for their arrival. And they got out their biggest cooking pots, because everybody knows that farmers eat a lot of stew. And they rejoiced as they waited for all the farmers to arrive.
It was just a week before summer holiday when the farmers arrived. One by one, upon tractors, wagons, bicycles, wheelbarrows and boats, a procession of farmers came carrying loads of soil. And out of one wagon came ten Budeie, and then two sheep and a big spotted donkey with a loud voice, and a chicken and a goat. And right behind them came an enormous carriage full of the most beautiful colored glacial soil.
Once they arrived safely into the city, and said “Good day!” and “Oh Joy!”, they were joined by a bright lot of city folk. Together, they all went off into the city in a long procession. They brought along a cart with a cooking stove on it, where they made flatbread for anyone who needed something warm to eat. And all the farmers joyously carried precious soil from their farms into the city. The farmers and those who joined the procession arrived at Losæter at mid day, and they found the people waiting for them singing songs of the sæter and preparing a pit for roasting a pig, and mmm, it was delicious. And afterwards they went straight to bed, for they were very tired from moving all the way to Oslo, not to mention the long parade through the city…
1. An adaptation of When Santa Claus Came To Town by Solvognen. Published by Danish by Demos, 1975.
Futurefarmers is an international group of artists, activists, farmers and architects with a common interest in creating frameworks of participation that recalibrate our cultural compass. Their work uses various media to enact situations that disassemble habitual apparatus. Through public art, architecture, museum installations, publications and temporary educational programs inside institutions, they have transformed public policy, urban planning, educational curricula and public transportation plans. Futurefarmers’ work often creates relational sculptures and tools for audiences to gain insight into deeper fields of inquiry- not only to imagine, but also to participate in and initiate change in the places we live.
Futurefarmers are the lead artists of Flatbread Society, a permanent public artwork in Oslo, Norway and their most recent project, Seed Journey, a floating school moving by sail between Oslo and Istanbul.
Their work has been exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Whitney Biennial in New York, MOMA, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal, the 2014 Venice Architectural Biennale, the 2017 Sharjah Biennale, the 2018 Taipei Biennale and founder, Amy Franceschini is the recipient of a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2017 Herb Alpert Award for Visual Arts and a 2019 Rome Prize Fellow in Design. http://www.flatbreadsociety.net