Herbologies/Foraging Networks

First the usual warning: i don’t do announcements and i don’t copy/paste PR material but i also like to find exceptions to the rule.

Ulla Taipale who runs Capsula, a unique programme about the intersection of art, science and nature, has set up a fantastic series of talks, workshops and field trips called Herbologies/Foraging Networks together with Andrew Gryf Paterson and Signe Pucena. The sessions are kicking out next month during the Pixelache festival (btw, check out their ongoing call for applications.)

Now comes the copy-paste party!

0aaherbnpisckin89.jpgWild vegetable foraging in a Finnish forest, photo by Ossi Kakko

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?

0aa3recreditphot0.jpgSigne Pucena DIY workshop for Moonshine home brewing, Aizpute, Serde. Photo credit: Ulla Taipale

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 (US).

WF-DSC_0082.jpgBig window farm at Eyebeam, July 2009. Photo by Lindsey Castillo

Following, in a pre-midsummer expedition to rural Rucava in 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.

Initiators and organisers: Andrew Paterson (SCO/FI), Ulla Taipale / Capsula (FI/ES) and Signe Pucena / SERDE (LV)


As part of Pixelversity.

Saturday-Sunday 20-21.2.2010, Kiasma ‘taka-ikkuna’, 12.00-18.00.

Participate in Windowfarms Finland

Participatory workshop open for people to attend (as part of Pixelversity). Construction led by Mikko Laajola (FI), Niko Punin (FI), Andrew Gryf Paterson (SCO/FI), Ulla Taipale (FI) + other enthusiasts.

As part of Pixelache Helsinki Festival.

Friday 26.3.2010, Kerava Art Museum (Camp Pixelache), time to be confirmed.

Contribution to DIY/Bio-tech/Open-source Hardware themes with short presentation by Niko Punin (FI) of ‘LetsGrowIt’ and remote/recorded presentation by Britta Riley (US) about the Windowfarms Project.

Saturday 27.3.2010, Kiasma Seminar Room, 13.00-16.45.

Herbologies/Foraging Networks Seminar

Introduction to full Herbologies/Foraging Networks programme (10mins)

*Cultural Heritage* (50mins)
Signe Pucena (LV): ‘Herbs and cultural heritage, Baltic expeditions -project’
Kultivator (SE): Wedding between Art and Agriculture.

0al3abeill.jpgChristina Stadlbauer in urban apiary in OKNO art collective´s roof top in Brussels. Photo credit: CC Annemie Maes

*Urban Space* (1hr 15 mins)
Christina Stadlbauer (AT/BE): Honey foraging in urban environments.
Dyykkaus Round table in Finnish, ideally including: ‘dumpster diver’/’dyykkaaja’, food health adviser, food distributor, supermarket representative, market seller of vegetables.

*Information & Sharing* (1hr 30 mins)
Andrew Gryf Paterson (SCO/FI): Foraging networks online
Ossi Kakko (FI): Intellectual property/Bio-piratism
Sinikka Piippo (FI): Mielen ja kehon kuntoa kasveilla / Health of mind and body with herbs

Saturday 27.3.2010, Kiasma Seminar Room, 17.30-18.30.

0aa2vivomadamm.jpgVivoArts workshop in Centre d´Art Santa Mónica, Barcelona 2007 / Capsula. Photo credits: Ulla Taipale/Capsula

VivoArts Workshop with Adam Zaretsky (US)

American bio-artist Adam Zaretsky will lead a performative workshop inviting to get involved with plant DNA using DIY methods and household implements.

Sunday 28.3.2010, Botanical Garden Kaisaniemi (Linkola & Elfving Rooms), 11.00-14.00.

Herbologies Workshops

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’, 18.00-19.00.

Windowfarms Project Closing

Dismantling event with music.


In collaboration with Centre for Interdisciplinary Arts SERDE (LV),

Expedition to Rucava, June 20-25, 2010.

An expedition of fieldwork will take place in Rucava, 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 information 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.

Expressions of interest to join the expedition should be sent to herbologies [-at-] pixelache.ac by 30th April 2010.

The programme is supported by an Art and Culture Production grant from Kultur Kontakt Nord, AVEK (The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture) and the Austrian Embassy in Helsinki.

Previously: Interview with Ulla Taipale from Capsula, Day 1 at the VivoArts School for Transgenic Aesthetics: Seed broadcasting workshop. Photo on the homepage: Big Window Farm at Eyebeam.