La fermentation de la terre

Some of us have been busy fermenting tasty new things in different formations.. Valentina Karga & Tessa Zettel worked together last month on a project in the South of France, at independent artspace Treignac Projet. La fermentation de la terre was a small-scale exploration of what could one day become a proper Collective Disaster project – a public underground fermentation facility. Their work was part of the exhibition Entanglements, Embodiments, Positions, curated by Jussi Koitela, and involved a host of micro-organisms collaborating on various lacto-fermentations buried underground.

Over a one-week residency, Tessa and Valentina experimented with techniques for making beetroot and carrot pickle (incorporating the beetroot stalks and leaves), a French variant of kimchi (with chilli, ginger and herbs from the garden, thyme, rosemary, dill..), and pickled eggs, all in ceramic vessels that could be buried in the earth. The largest of these, used for the kimchi, was found buried under the basement of a 500-year old tiny house a few kilometres away, where it was perhaps used for storing food. Stones from the stream running through Treignac served as very good weights, keeping the vegetables under the salty water level.

Unable to find a suitable burial pit on the property, with topsoil in this region being very thin, Sam & Liz (who run the space) decided that they needed to make one, so Sam set to drilling out a patch of concrete in the courtyard. Valentina and Tessa tried out some underground slow-cooking in the new hole, and left behind a pit that can now be used for future fermentations.

If you’re lucky enough to be in that part of the world over the summer, you can see (and taste!) the exhibition anytime until 31 August 2018.

See further ferments at: Making Time