In the winter of 2017/2018 the cabbage harvest was so good that farmers were unable to sell their surplus harvest. This prompted Mediamatic to take in the surplus cabbage and devote our winter program to food surplus, value and abundance. We've stacked, fermented, buried, learned, eaten lots of cabbage soup, and so have found value in something the economy deems valueless.
Various artists found different ways to connect with the white cabbage. Anastasia Loginova read them Tolstoj, Tomislav Feller wrapped himself and in Arne Hendriks' case, the abundant harvest mostly prompted him to ask questions regarding satisfaction in the midst of abundance.
Together with artist Arne Hendriks we organised a series of Tuesday nights on which we started a conversation about the current food economy. With several guests and chefs, we tried out the best cabbage dishes. This resulted in a white cabbage in a salt crust, a sushi made entirely from white cabbage and discussions and conversations regarding the value of our food in times of globalisation.
Eventually we mainly celebrated the abundant harvest with our festive Abundance Dinner. This dinner, during which the dozens of dishes all featured white cabbage as their main ingredient, was put together by Arne Hendriks and chef Thorwald Voss. Together with various speakers, we tried to find a future wherein there exists a balance between supply and demand, desire and satisfaction, and abundance and shortage.
Communication through Smells
In January, we organized our first international multi-day smell symposium. Together with artist Klara Ravat and Saskia Wilson Brown, director of the Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles, we invited dozens of smell professionals. During a two day program, they attempted to find new systems for classifying smells. How does one categorize things as immediate as smells, and is it even necessary?
After the succesful start of our Neo Futurist Dinners in 2017, we organised new spectacle dinners, for which we invited various artists to come into our kitchen. Fashion designer Schueller de Waal and the chefs from Haagse Hapjes brought a dinner that was entirely made up of substances that promote happy feelings. From slurping together, to a course of meditation and edible frustration during dessert, our guests went home well-fed.
2018 also saw the festive start to the collaberation between the eleven programming institutions surrounding the Oosterdok. On April 21st, we organised an open day together, where there was much to see and do, in and around the Oosterdok. In our CleanLab you could get a tattoo done of your favorite microorganism, as they were drawn by Ernst Haeckel. To complement this, we exhibited the most beautiful of Hernst Haeckel's Kunstformen Der Natur posters in our lock gate warehouse. This exhibition can be visited during the spring.
With our workshops we give our audience the opportunity to learn to use various techniques and materials, themselves. During the winter, we had various workshops about white cabbage. For instance, we taught people to make Kimchi with European cabbage, rather than the Asian cabbage variety, and we explored an authentic pit fermentation technique.