Participation Reference 2

“Flatbread Society” is a permanent public art project made by Futurefarmers in Oslo, Norway in the form of a Bakehouse and a grainfield. The Bakehouse has a multi-functional oven and is housed by a structure made of glass that “facilitates various types of break baking, public programs and magic.” Grain is used as a resource “to consider the interrelationship of food production to realms of knowledge sharing, cultural production, socio-political formations and everyday life” and involves participation and engagement from farmers, bakers, oven builders, artists, activists, soil scientists, and city officials. All these people collaborate together due to an interest in grain. It has also consequentially formed Herligheten, an urban gardening community. The region is coined “Losæter,” which comes from Norwegian words Loallmenning and sæter. Lo refers to a site near water, while  sæter means having the right to put animals to pasture and a mountain pasture home/putting up a house for the summer. These two terms are combined in their coined name to connect the agricultural heritage of Norway into the present, “extending the metaphor of cultivation to larger ideas of self-determination and the foregrounding of organic processes in the development of land use, social relations, and cultural forms.” The projects and environment of the site are meant to be open and fluid with the goal of questioning humankind’s relationship with the land, specifically in the form of cultivation, which becomes a community wide cultural endeavor that produces and manages common resources and makes this local cultivation a relevant practice. This practice and culture of cultivation becomes “linked to larger ideas of self-determination and organic processes in the development of land use, social relations, and cultural forms.” Its meant to contrast with the rest of Bjørvika, which follows a rational and logical development.

A procession of farmers bring farmsoil from over 50 Norwegian farms to the site at Oslo in a ritualistic fashion as it is offered as an offering to the land and spread during the signing of the Declaration of Land.

Visitors can see the making of bread on site in adherence to cultural tradition but also transformed. For example, in the making of lefse bread, a traditionally male job (because female biology may interfere with the delicate fermentation process), women can and may also be preparing the bread. Other projects and visualizations have also stemmed out of this in order to connect people and cultivation. For example, Michael Tossig’s imagining of Seeds of Time visualizes a wooden voyaging boat sailing from Norway to the Middle East with a box of seeds. This imagination is mythical and surreal, aiming to connect people through an idea of cultivation and common interest of wheat.

Leave a Reply