Go wild. Go feral
I invite you to trust what’s emerging from the collective play, to forage, to grow, eat and experiment together with other creatures. Explore what grows in your local forest or swamp or park, or in your garden, flower pot or an old coffee mug. Bring it to the table. See what others have found. Share it, mix it, play with it. Imagine what it is that you are doing and imagine what it could be. Imagine all that. But don’t stop just there. Make it really happen. Cook it. Smell it. Sniff it. Taste it. Feel it. Listen. Go wild. Go feral.
So this message in a bottle was really meant to express the kind of collaborative and co-creative element in the work that we have been doing with my partners. And that’s a work that really aims to bring together people from various walks of lives as well as other nonhuman creatures, to play together and think about what are we doing here together right now and what we could be doing together in the future to somehow be able to grow and flourish and survive together on this planet that we all share. And we often do this through very experimental and open-ended and spontaneous forms of creative practice, either in design or in art. And very often we use food. We bring food on the table because it’s this very everyday life element that many creatures have some experience with. So it’s this interesting, familiar element that you can get together with others and get creative around and do something that might seem very mundane at the beginning, but that might turn into something quite unexpected. And this is exactly what I think stands in the core of the creative practice that we are doing: playing with something that we actually don’t even know what it is at the beginning, But we try to be patient and wait for it to emerge through the whole process of playing together with others.
Create something relational that would play with the existing hierarchies
The idea was really to break this barrier that people from very different social and economic backgrounds and statuses can get together around something as mundane as food. And it was also changing the usual dynamic because you might, as a person without home, often be in a position that you need to ask others for resources, for support, for instance, for money. But suddenly you were offering food to others, so people had to come to you to ask you for the food and also for your story. So the idea was really to create something relational again that would play with the existing hierarchies.
Actually, whom did it help? What is the next step?
We can stage a food event at the conference and just tick the box and say, how successful, because, you know, then other researchers came and we had a very inspiring and invigorating discussion. But actually, whom did it help? What is the next step? What are the post conference workshops that offer nothing? So with the Feeding Food Futures, we started spreading around also organising events in a community garden in a hackerspace in other places, interestingly enough, in our own time. So very often not part of, let’s say, our paid research jobs or grants or like scholarships or other funds that we had. But I have hope that it actually is changing now that things are becoming a little more flexible. You just need to be persistent and be often in the position where not everybody will love you, that you kind of need to, you know, make your point, insist on something such as I really want this event to be free of charge for everyone. And it definitely happened in the past at a few events, but then I still see it as more of a wish than as the actual practice, what we are doing with this collective. So this is really the main motivation and this is where we are striving to go.
About Marketa Dolejšová
I am a design researcher and curator experimenting with embodied, relational ways of knowing and doing, often in multi-species settings. I currently serve as a postdoctoral research fellow at Aalto University – School of Arts, Design and Architecture (FI), working for the CreaTures project (Creative Practices for Transformational Futures) where I lead the Laboratory of experimental productions. I have co-founded several art/design research initiatives including the Uroboros festival, the Open Forest Collective, the Feeding Food Futures network and the Fermentation GutHub. My research leverages co-creative methods from participatory and experimental design to support reflective, imaginative and sensory-rich experiences. Examples include walking in a forest under the guidance of a dog, speculating on food futures through the medium of Tarot, or fermenting spaces for feral, more-than-human encounters.
In 2018, I completed my doctorate in Interactive Media Design at the National University of Singapore, with a dissertation project Edible Speculations: Designing for Human-Food Interaction. I publish my work regularly—for a full list see my Google Scholar.
Dolejšová, M., Wilde, D., Altarriba Bertran, F. , Davis, H., & Reshef Kera, D. (2022) Experimental Food Design for Sustainable Futures [Festival Pechakucha presentation]. CreaTures Festival, Sevilla, Spain.
Dolejšová, M. (2022). A Tale of More-than-Human Folly. [Talk]. Helsinki Design Week – Designs for Cooler Planet 2022. Helsinki, FI.
Ampatzidou, C., Dolejšová, M., Choi, J. H-j. and Botero, A. (2021). Feral Ways Of Knowing And Doing: Tools And Resources For Transformational Creative Practice [Conference presentation]. 2021 Pivot Conference: Dismantling Reassembling – Tools for Alternative Futures.
Dolejšová, M. & Svanda, A. (2021). Bring Your Own Kitchen [Festival presentation]. Pixelache 2021 festival.
Dolejšová, M. & Alster, D. (2020). Tarot Lab [Symposium presentation]. The 1st Nordic Symposium of Spiritual Technologies within Creative Practices.Dolejšová, M., Wilde, D., Altarriba Bertran, F. , Davis, H., & Reshef Kera, D. (2020). Feeding Food Futures: From Techno-solutionism to Inclusive Human-Food Collaborations [Conference panel – organisers, contributors]. EASST/4S 2020 conference.
Dolejšová, M., Wilde, D., Davis, H. and Altarriba Bertran, F. (2022). Feasting on Participatory Methodologies for Regenerative Food Transitions. In Participatory Design Conference 2022: Volume 2 (PDC 2022 Vol. 2), August 19–September 01, 2022, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. ACM, New York, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.1145/3537797.3537832
Dolejšová, M., Ampatzidou, C., Houston, L., Light, A., Botero, A., Choi, J. H-j., Wilde, D., Altarriba Bertran, F., Davis, H., Gil, F., and Catlow, R. (2021). Designing for Transformative Futures: Creative Practice, Social Change and Climate Emergency. In Creativity and Cognition (C&C ’21), June 22, 23, 2021, Virtual Event, Italy. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 9 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3450741.3465242
Wilde, D.*, Dolejšová, M.*, van Gaalen, S., Altarriba Bertran, F., Davis, H. & Raven, P.G. (2021). Troubling the Impact of Food Future Imaginaries. Proceedings of the 2021 Nordic Design Research Conference (NORDES). Proceedings of the 2021 Nordic Design Research Conference, No 9 (2021): NORDES 2021: MATTERS OF SCALE, ISSN 1604-9705, pp.115-124. *co-first authors
Dolejšová, M. & Hámošová, L. (2021). Designing in Troubling Times: Experimental Engagements with Socio-Ecological Challenges at the Uroboros Festival. In M. Christensen, R. Michel & W. Jonas (Ed.), NERD – New Experimental Research in Design 2 (pp. 36-52). Berlin, Boston: Birkhäuser. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783035623666-004
Dolejšová, M., Gaalen van S., Wilde, D., Davis, H. & Altarriba Bertran, F. (2021). More-than-Human Food Futures Cookbook. RRI Tools collection.
Davis, H., Wilde, D., Altarriba Bertran, F. & Dolejšová, M. (2020). Fantastic(e)ating Food Futures: Reimagining Human Food Interactions. DIS ’20: Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference, 377-380. https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3393914.3395906
Dolejšová, M., van Gaalen, S., Wilde, D., Raven, P. G., Heitlinger, S. & Light, A. (2020). Designing with More-than-Human Food Practices for Climate Resilience. DIS ’20: Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference, 381-384. https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3393914.3395909
Dolejšová, M.*, Wilde, D.*, Altarriba Bertran, F. & Davis, H. (2020). Disrupting (More-than-) Human-Food Interaction: Experimental Design, Tangibles and Food-Tech Futures. DIS’20: Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference, 993-1004. https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3357236.3395437 *co-first authors