Banquet X’s COOP summit project builds on the shared roots of the banquet, the museum and the theme park. The Orto Botanico dell'Università di Cagliari (Botanical Gardens) is envisaged as a step into a near future ecopark. Researchers predict a substantial rise in the Earth’s overall temperature, within the range of two to four degrees celsius in forthcoming decades. While these metrics may not seem alarming, they will have significant psychological, physiological, ecological and political impact. These can range from extreme heat stress, economic collapse, unbreathable air and food scarcity to the re-emergence of forgone diseases.
If an everyday activity such as a walk in the park already seems mildly uncomfortable under the June sun of 2019, what could be gleaned from transmitting the climate conditions of the near future into the present? Over the course of the COOP the members of the group have immersed themselves in various strands of research on climate change which could best be described using philosopher Anne Françoise Schmid’s terminology of the “Integrative Object”. This implies that contemporary complex objects of research such as climate change ought to be approached as a “kind of unknown 'X' whose properties are distributed in an unprecedented
way between different disciplinary forms of knowledge”. The banquet and the theme park provide strong historically embedded templates for spatial design and social interaction. This multi-project event maps the X of climate change onto the conceptual templates of banquets and theme parks to engage with the materials, imaginal space, aggregated knowledge and forecasts that emerge from its research. This produces an encounter in which the main attraction of the park is a navigation through different perspectives and layers of knowledge creating a synergy between scientific and artistic competencies.
As part of this project I made 80 petri dishes (3,5 cm width) with agar and slime mold, presented as living compasses, handed out at the entrance of Botanic_X. Followed by a performance assisted by Assem Hendawi, Aslak Aamot Kjaerulff, Bjarke Hvass Kure taking place in the Roman Cistern of the Botanical Gardens.
The performance lasted 10 minutes and was repeated 4 times ”We welcome you into a moist and cold concrete habitat. A communal act of alienation; an invitation to eat a living organism, imagining a future garden that is not for us. The performance has a limited capacity of 20 people. Bring your living compass.”
While you have been walking through the near future ecopark
you’re Living Compass
has been exploring and finding its way on the agar in the petri dish
Hardly visible to our eyes
it grows and withdraws
on it’s journey to eat oat flakes
A compass is known to be a navigational tool
It gives us direction
This compass navigates as well
but it is difficult to predict how
We are in a future garden
We plant seeds
and create a habitat to live in
What happend if instead of creating an outer garden
we consciously decide
to be a garden
to be a host
and to welcome outside guests.
to become a garden and
to become food for the life in this garden