Seed Journey sails upon RS-10 Christiania, an 1895, wooden rescue sailboat designed by renowned shipwright, Colin Archer. The idea of “rescue” in relation to this journey is key. Christiania is not only a “slow” and “safe” vessel, but she also connects the ideas of exploration and loss to new ideas of rescue and findings. The re-tracing backwards the routes of these seeds and their cultures re-signifies these voyages from the 21st century vantage of having lost our flotation, lost our way; a “reverse Nansen”, “reverse Humboldt”, reverse “Darwin”, Cook, Magellan or whatever traveller you may want to choose.
The particular seeds being taken on Seed Journey have been “rescued” from various locations in the Northern Hemisphere – from the very formal (seeds saved during the Siege of Leningrad from the Vavilov Institute Seed Bank) to the informal (experimental archaeologists discovering Finnish Rye between two wooden boards in an abandoned Rihii in Hamar, Norway).
Once “weeds” these grains have been domesticated over tens’s of thousands of years by humans– cultivated by hand and exchanged through a complex hand- to hand network. Seed Journey collects ancient grains and stories along their route from farmers, bakers and seed savers. Each grain is inventoried and sealed into an hourglass that lives inside of a small wooden sailboat on board.
The return of the ancient seeds is like reverse engineering, taking apart fold by fold this long history and dense interaction.
This journey to the Middle East can be seen as an awakening of the memory—the long journey the grain itself has taken—through the hands of time.
Seed Journey is a seafaring voyage connected to a public art project* in the former port of Bjørvika in Oslo, Norway. Seed Journey moves people, ideas and seeds through time and space. This voyage—its crew and cargo—are agents that link the commons as they relate to local networks and a more global complex of seed savers and stewards of the land, air and water. A rotating crew of artists, anthropologists, biologists, bakers, activists, sailors and farmers join the journey and share their findings at host institutions along the route from small harbors to large ports from barns to museums (contemporary art, natrual history and maritime) to social centers.
"NOT STUCK ON TIME"
Seed Journey departs from the port of Oslo, Norway beginning with a few key defining points and space for new stops and invitations along the way. The crew’s interests will influence the route, but ultimately grains are the compass. Seed Journey maps not only space, but also time and phylogeny: while the more familiar space yields a cartographic map, time yields history and phylogeny yields a picture of networks of relationships between and among living beings—relationships between cultural groups, but also between human and non-human living forms such as seeds, sea-life and the terrestrial species from the various places and times we will traverse.
Flatbread Society is a permanent public art project created in a “common” area amidst the waterfront development of Bjørvika, in Oslo, Norway. In 2012, the international arts collective, Futurefarmers formed Flatbread Society as a proposition for working with local actors to establish an aligned vision for the use of this land. The groups’ dynamic activation of the site through public programs, a bakehouse and a cultivated grain field has attracted the imagination of farmers, bakers, oven builders, artists, activists, soil scientists, city officials; while simultaneously resulting in the formation of an urban gardening community called Herligheten, a Declaration of Land Use, and a permanent grainfield and bakehouse.
Flatbread Society has extended beyond Oslo into a network of projects and people that use grain as a prismatic impetus to consider the interrelationship of food production to realms of knowledge sharing, cultural production, socio-political formations and everyday life.
Flatbread Society is part of Bjørvika Utvikling (BU) public art program Slow Space, commissioned and produced by Bjørvika Utvikling and supported by The Norwegian Public Road Authroities (Eastern Region).
Slow Space/Bjørvika Utvikling Slow Space is a programme of public artworks in Bjørvika, Oslo’s former container port conceived by Situations, Bristol.
SALT, Istanbul SALT is receiving us at our final port and supporting an exhibition and culminating programming.
Henie Onstad Art Center Within the context of the exhibition Nikolai Astrup - Painting Norway, Futurefarmers used the gallery space and their dock to prepare for the journey.
Museum Aan de Stroom/Port of Antwerp MAS will provide a dock in the harbor of Antwerp for the winter.
Arts Institute, University of Wisconsin, Madison The University of Wisconsin's Arts Institute Program supported research and production.
Dept. of Horticulture, Univ.of Wisconsin Support DNA sequencing of the grains collected to determine how many generations apart the grains from Norway are to their relative varieties in Palestine.
Delfina Foundation Support of public programs in London and production.
Hermitage Community Moorings Hermitage Community Moorings is a co-operative which built, owns, and operates a mooring on the Thames at Hermitage Wharf, Wapping.
Seed Fund A granting foundation that supports projects that enliven the public realm and advance the quality of civic life.
Johan has circumnavigated the globe by sailboat. He has sailed to Antarctica, the Arctic, Russia, Africa and the entire length of Norway without engine. He studied navigation, anthropology and photojournalism and has worked as navigator, rescueman, diver, journalist, photographer and teaches navigation and safety.
Børre has extensive sailing and travelling experience. He has sailed across the Indian Ocean, around the North Atlantic, to Spitsbergen, the Baltic and more. He studied business and administration and is currently running a small investment firm.
Oslo, Norway Carl Emil has sailed around the globe on sailing yachts. He has studied business and anthropology, and has worked as a merchant sailor, election observer, account manager, with PR at the Etnographic museum. When he is not working, he tends to spend his time reading, rock climbing, sailing and visiting prisons.
Michael Taussig is an anthropologist known for his provocative ethnographic studies and unconventional style as an academic. He was born in Australia in 1940 where he studied medicine at the University of Sydney. He earned a Ph.D. at the London School of Economics and is currently a professor of anthropology at Columbia University in New York. Taussig is acclaimed for his commentaries on shamanism, mimesis and alterity, the Nervous System, defacement, Walter Benjamin, commodity fetishism, and ficto-criticism.
Professor Taussig will be applying the latest technologies of reflexive, post-humanism, post-modernism, bio-powered, solar-enhanced, Mastery of Non-Mastery to the crew of the Ship of Fools and Seeds, shake it a little, and see what happens, bearing in mind Walter Benjamin's adage, "the left hand strikes the decisive blows."
Born in 1965 in Stembert, Verviers, East-Belgium. Didier is interested in non-academic knowledges; oral cultures (reclaiming and emerging); collective and innovative ways of political actions; auto-organized groups and systems; soil restoration, mushrooms and microscopic live; relations to animals; breeding sheep; grains cultivation, milling and bread baking; fermentation processes; plants structures, morphology and development... specificities, styles of the surroundings.
Some may have seen Didier's work with Isabelle Mauz, When Wolves Settle: A Panorama at ZKM/ Making Things Public in 2005 and his Vital Phantasy in the group exhibition Animism curated by Anselm Franke.
During the journey, Didier will meet tales of that kind which will flow to us.
Vivien is a writer, producer, and photographer living in Beit Jala. She has worked with farmers in the field for over six years, capturing their stories for the wider world. She is currently a doctoral candidate for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University.
Vivien will link the larger Seed Journey route to her homebase in Bethlehem, Palestine where she has been documenting and working with farming communities who are preserving ancient methods of cultivation.
Martin Lundberg Oslo, Norway Martin hails from the region of the sun, Skåne, Sweden. He is an anti-disciplinarian maker and creator of Oslo Fjord Sauna in 2013, a floating sauna made entirely from found materials in the Olso Fjord. Today this sauna is a provocation to the city of Oslo to activate and maintain the fjord and coastline as a lively accessible common.
Martin will observe and document Michael Taussigs work and help with provisioning.
By putting herself aside of the authorial persona, Hanan considers art as an activity essentially enriched by the collective, expanded by hazardous changes, mistakes and misuses. Most of her projects are realized on a long time scale. The monumentality of the time factor, effort and people involved, opposed to the essential low coefficient of visibility of her projects is the tension that drives her.
She focuses on “difficult” landscapes, arid and deserted, the ones that are physically and mentally challenging. Geopolitical, environmental issues and traditional oral & social practices are the main reason she has fixed her attention to these regions of the world.
Hanan studied at the Art Academy of Oslo and the Dutch Art Institute. Her work is mostly based on music, sound, writings, talks, field recordings and different archival strategies. All her projects start with a journey.
Hanan has worked with Gallery BOA, Ul tima, Mosaic Rooms, Black Box Theater, aria (artist residency in Algiers), the Museum of Yugoslav History and TAAK. She is a member of the experimental opera noise project feilkontroll.
Hanan will focus on desert territories and how it could apply to an art practice. She will work with seeds she has been collecting as well as information about their uses (food, magical rituals, medicinal powers, etc.). This is a lifetime project, which can evolve in many directions. At the moment, it is close to a small seed bank and was materialized during an exhibition together with a sound piece suggesting an atopic time frame.
Fernando García-Dory's work engages specifically with the relationship between culture and nature now, as manifested in multiple contexts, from landscape and the rural, to desires and expectations concerned with identity, through to (global) crisis, utopia and the potential for social change. He studied Fine Arts and Rural Sociology, and now preparing his PhD on Agroecology. Interested in the harmonic complexity of biological forms and processes, his work addresses connections and cooperation, from microorganisms to social systems, and from traditional art languages such as drawing to collaborative agroecological projects, actions, and cooperatives
Fernando will look to the native cultural understanding of marine ecology, talasonimia (the knowledge of the names of sites in the sea) , related with the activities of small fishermen using traditional techniques, that allow the sustainability and reproduction of fishing resources and local economies. This archive of names and knowledge will be shared with Slow Fish International.
Amy founded Futurefarmers in 1995, a group of art and farming practitioners. A consistent line through her work reveals sustained questioning about how “nature” and “culture” are perceived. She uses various modes to uncover histories and currents related to this divide by challenging systems of exchange and tools used to “hunt” and “gather.” Her work manifests as temporary public art, exhibitions, publications, bus tours, public programs and permanent public art. Franceschini is also currently the lead artist of Flatbread Society, a permanent public artwork in one of the common areas in Bjørvika in Oslo, Norway.
Amy will tune her senses to record "the remarkable occurances" of human and non-human agencies that mark the journey in the contemporay age of sail. A self-made pinhole camera, log book and the practice of memorizing will evoke new rituals of paying attention.
Since 1996, he has advised national govern-ments and multilateral institutions on policy-making on genetic engineering and sovereign-ty over genetic resources. He assists indigenous organizations and NGOs in Latin America and elsewhere to meet challenges related to genetic engineering. Chapela is actively involved in the debate on biodiversity loss, its economic and social consequences and its connections to technology policy. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council for Responsible Genetics and a member of the Scientific Board of the Sunshine Project, dedicated to bring light into the world of bio-warfare and bio-defense.
Atop one of the masts Ignacio Chapela’s ABRA will sample pollen with a time-space signature attached to samples of microscopic particles. Time is drawn by a clock; space by GPS; phylogeny by ABRA. The result is a "slice" of time-space-phylogeny the "shape" of Colin Archer's trajectory.
Joe is an artist and Master of Yachts 200-ton Offshore Limited Mate. He has sailed aboard 112' schooner Argo, biked atop abandoned railroads in the U.S., paraded a mobile radio network in Ukraine, and helped organize the longest student-led occupation in United States history while studying at Cooper Union. He has been faculty at Bruce High Quality Foundation University, a resident at Izolyatsia, and a collaborator with Futurefarmers. He teaches boatbuilding in Brooklyn, NY public schools as well as letterpress printing and metalworking at Cooper Union.
Joe will serve as a sailor, documentarian, and line between the worlds of art and sailing. He will also research how the languages of maritime visual signaling and hyper-communication relate to the sense and strategy of being lost at sea.
Jørund Aase Falkenberg works in the crossingpoint between concept-shape, reality-utopia and politics-spirit, he engages questions concerning mysticism, universal meaning, cultural change and animal rights. After studying at Oslo Academy of Fine Art (MA, 2008) he has exhibited in venues such as The Young Artists Society (UKS, Oslo), Baku Contemporary Art Center (Aserbajdsjan), The Drawing Room (London), The Nordic House (Reykjavik), Artconnexion (Lille) and Stavanger Art Museum.
Jørund will use microbial cellulose (cellulose cultivated in bacterial culture – acetibacter xylinium etc.) to build kites with different designs. The kites will be flown from the boat at sea and as performances on land. The bringing together of a material produced by microorganisms and the constructing of, and playing with, kites, can be seen to have many interesting links and implications. Not being weaved by human hands or man made machines, the microbial cellulose represent a fusion of nature and technology. Kite flying is both an iconic image of the child´s spontanous joy of playing and human yearning to transcend its own limits.
Founded by artist Kobe Matthys in 1992, Agency is compiling a growing list of ‘things’ that resist easy categorization between culture and nature, between man-made creations and facts, between subjects and objects, humans and non-humans, individuals and collectives. Most of these controversies are derived from legal disputes over intellectual property.
Agency calls things forth from it’s list via varying assemblies inside exhibitions, performances, publications, etc… Each assembly speculates topologically on a different question of the performative consequences of the apparatus of intellectual property for an ecology of art practices and paying attention to other types of agencies.
agency will select a number of ‘things’ speculating on the question “what if common things become included within art practices?” it will focus on things that are considered common because they are part of folklore and traditional knowledges. folklore is often described as being common, undefined, anonymous, untitled, unregistered, etc... the intellectual property requirements of origin, identification, fixation, etc... are often incompatible with folklore. folklore is considered to be "common" and to reside inside “the public domain”. but folk artists are often guardians, holders, keepers or stewards of traditional knowledges. their different belongings involve different obligations and commitments, which are attachments they are often not able to reformulate at their own will. agency pays attention to the operative consequences of the apparatus of intellectual property for the diversity of ecologies of art practices.
Marthe is an activist and performer who creates interfaces, devices & protocols to instigate our urban and institutional hardware. She engages in the administrative, cultural, political dimension of personal and collective identities. By triggering intersubjective alliances she confronts the 'self & other' to the commons, co-authorship and the redistribution into the public domain.
Marthe graduated Political and Social Sciences at the University of Antwerp (1998) and Graphic Design (2002) in St-Lukas. She was a researcher at the Jan Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht in 2005, a UNIDEE resident in 2007 and has been a guest lecturer at St-Lukas in Antwerp, the Royal Academy of Ghent and the Higher Institute of Fine Art.
Radio Ramona Marthe will use her streaming radio Ramona to capture interview, texture and daily life on board and on land.
Alfonso devises situations and artefacts that are born to be consumed becoming experiences that seek to change in some way the perception of reality, interfere in it or simply imagine it. His work only exists on a symbiotic level, intrinsically connected to man, an organic work that only comes to life through him and disappears with him. It is consumed with the experience, which at times dilates the work and expands it through oral transmission, the source of human growth, the communication of stories and memory.
Alfonso will work with the inconsistency of memory on the boat. He will consider the boat as a lucid camera, a vessel of experiences where to imprint the ecology of living system. He aims to generate a latent image of the journey by means of using canaries/octopus in the boat. One ecosystem will record the other one. The brain of this living technology will transform into electrical and chemical stimulus of the experience. The organ will become a container of this stimulus storing what science call memory. At the end of the journey the animals will have to be frozen cryogenically and sent to the Biological Centre in Barcelona. Once at the centre a group of neurologists working at the B.R.A.I.N. project will read the memories of this brain and translate into a report.
Audrey Snyder is an artist, chef, and a collaborator with Futurefarmers since 2007. Her work investigates the intersection of food systems and cultural production, where examination of simple practice cultivates complex thinking. She has toured the United States by bicycle, was a chef aboard Station to Station train journey, a resident artist on the remote Rabbit Island, and is the creator of Waterline Ceramics. Audrey hails from San Francisco, California and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.
Audrey will be the on-board chef and will provision the vessel throughout its course — linking the movement of food, goods, and ideas by land and sea.
Anna writes from where she is, which is usually somewhere she used to be or would like to be. "To write in the midst of the present feels like an impossible but interesting goal," she once told me. "I," she admitted, "have no idea what the present is," except it was clear to me when I interviewed her, that the present exists, like our love.
Anna will write postcards destined for Seed Journey stopping points. Wanting to provide a record of the ground for those on board, she will seek news stories, personal accounts, art exhibits--anything to write off of and relay--that might aid in the production of a welcome interruption to being at sea.