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BYOK [Bring Your Own Kitchen]

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BYOK [Bring Your Own Kitchen] is an experimental kitchen lab organised at the Pixelache festival Helsinki [FI] and kitchens around the world, by Markéta Dolejšová & Annukka Svanda 🥕🥕.

A week-long series of distributed food design experiments, BYOK aimed to connect edibles, forests, humans, and other creatures and critters from around the world. Each experimental session approached food as a complex composite of substances, processes, experiences, and meanings – both existing and imagined – and invited participants to co-creatively reflect on diverse food sustainability-related themes. Experimental processes included foraging in interconnected forests, exploring the boundaries between soil and dirt, cooking ancient grain risotto, tasting flavors of extinction, more-than-human recipe role-play, and much more.

Broadcasted from the Pixelache festival in Helsinki, Finland, the hybrid (live/online) BYOK event was open to everyone, everywhere, via a portal of their choice. All you needed to join this experimental cooking show was to Bring Your Own Kitchen. Details of each session follow.

SESSION I. Food: Old, New, Coming & Gone 🐝

Date: Monday June 7th, 2:30pm – 4:30pm EEST (1:30pm – 3:30pm CEST)
Location: Broadcasted from Malmgård brewery and estate
Guests: Henrik Creutz (Malmgård estate and brewery)

Local and global foodscapes are changing: food practices are becoming faster; food resources, practices, and traditions are disappearing; food cultures are being mutated. How do we humans, as eaters and food makers, feed these eco-social changes in food systems and how do these changes impact us in return? In the age of the Anthropocene, we are what we eat and we eat what we are. 

Do you remember what tomatoes taste like? Or that feeling of having dirt behind your nails, after you’d finish getting the ingredients for your lunch? Can you bake a cake like your grandmother used to do? And does it taste the same? What foods are disappearing, from where, and for whom? Where do they go?

Broadcasted from the Malmgård brewery and estate, the session featured a conversation about the ideals of local food cultures, organic farming practices, and food ingredients & traditions that have gone extinct. While talking, participants merged their experiences and resources and cooked an ancient grain “risotto”. 

SESSION II. Eating the Forest Soil 🌲

Date: Tuesday, June 8th, 1 – 3pm EEST (12 – 2pm CEST) online / 12:30 – 6pm EEST on-site
Location: Sipoo forest & online
Guests: Antti Vuornos (soundscape), Mervi Antila (multi-sensory sketching), Feeding Food Futures (bringing virtual soil from places afar)

The hybrid foraging trip served as a portal to connect more-than-human soil landscapes around the world. Broadcasted from a physical base camp in the Sipoo forest in Finland, the session invited participants to drift around their forests and observe who lives and grows in the local soil. Tour activities included experimenting with Moss Face Spa, dancing in the swamp, collecting wild herbs as well as soil and sound samples, talking about the more-than-human health tricks that forests can offer, and – of course – eating everything around.

On the way, everyone listened to their forest and discussed its nutrients flows: who feeds whom in the forest and its soil, how and why? Where do we belong within the forest infrastructure as human visitors? What are the possible connections between soil, food, dirt, and (more-than-)human health? When it comes to food and eating, where does soil end and dirt begin?

SESSION III: Creatures in the Kitchen 🦑

Date: Friday June 11th, 1 – 3pm EEST (12pm – 2pm CEST)
Location: Broadcasted from Oodi library kitchen
Guests: us, CreaTures 🦑

This session provided a space for creatures and critters living in kitchens around the world to come together at a hybrid dining table and share their stories of change. Everyone was invited to join and bring along, as their alter-ego, a creature living in their kitchen that, to them, embodies a process of change (perceptual, social, socio-technical, ecological, cultural, symbolical, biochemical…). All present creatures gathered and shared their stories that were then weaved together into a collaborative recipe for change.