Exhibitions

Dinner In The Forest Garden

6.9.2020 at 18.00.

The event, taking place in the Jan van Eyck Academie’s forest garden, gathered a group of guests around a series of edible sculptures made by Niina Tervo. Their interactions, with the sculptures and each other, was filmed and live-streamed through a video-setting by Youngeun Sohn. The event was curated by Bruno Alves de Almeida and presented as a part of the Environmental Identities- series.

 

As guests in the video:

Aàdesokan, Aliki van der Kruijs, Asli Burger, Boram Soh, Charlotte Lagro, Elisa Caldana, Eva Posas, Luisa Puterman, Lukas Rehm, Ignace Cami, Isabel Seiffert. 

Photos: Jan Van Eyck Academie

Documentation: Vimeo (excerpt) and Youtube (full)

SIC

Overview, Dinner In The Forest Garden, 2020. 

A conversation between Niina & Youngeun after the event:


 

Y:    I remember that I was surprised when I was actually watching Zoom at the café. I had an idea in my head maybe more like an image that wasn’t realised yet and didn’t know how it would go or look like exactly. Also, your sculptures were being laid out on the table from the morning, and got the final compositions just before the event. And then the video started getting its shape over the duration. It was unpredictable the whole time, how people made the shots and it’s live-streamed through Zoom.  

 

N:    It was surprising for me too. Because the sculptures had to be served fresh, I really had to make them within two days and take them out of their molds just before installing. There was sugar that started to melt because of the moist Dutch air and frozen oil that would also melt because of the temperature. So we were installing just before the event started and it was really just a lot of imagining until the last minutes. I think we were bringing the plates out when Zoom was already on... But I think it’s interesting too, these fast decisions. If you try to control everything, it keeps you safe, but when anything can happen then we need to deal with it. There’s some softness in the thought and process when you also have to  accept that the artwork could go wrong or fail. And when making an event that has this as a part of it makes the situation somehow fragile. 

 

N:    What made you interested in filming this event?

 

Y:    At first, I was intrigued that I could see people eating something. A mix of edible sculptures and everyday gestures; putting foods on the plate and cutting as a bite-size, chewing, and swallowing them. I wanted to present these mundane body gestures as a performance itself by using the live-streamed setup. Nowadays it is so common to have a Zoom meeting, and I watch someone or myself talking or nodding on the screen all the time. I remember in one of the Zoom meetings, the speaker was talking and suddenly someone put a cup on the table just loud enough to change the speaker’s view. I thought that was a very interesting moment; interrupting the speaker's view with the sound that the person perhaps didn’t intend and was other than voice. Since we approached this event quite open-ended, I thought it would be a nice place to explore my interests in daily life that is mediated by screens and to use Zoom as a video-generating tool. 

 

N:    Yes, we’ve both been talking about this open endedness. I wanted to start the situation with creating a beginning with the installation but after that wanted people to feel free to do whatever with it. So that they would start searching how to eat and what to do with the sculptures. For this I wanted the food not to look like food, and not to always taste good either. When you see something you don’t understand, you start using your brain and senses differently, in a more sensitive way, to get information about what it is and how to experience or eat it. I was hoping it puts their minds in a different set, somehow open and intuitive. I was also curious how this affects the communication, how they are together and how do they communicate together? If you are open and sensitive, that has also an effect on the way you are interacting with each other and on the group dynamics.

 

Y:    Keeping the casualness was important to observe people’s interactions with each other and sculptures I think. People’s body gestures or behaviours don’t need to be something special or more than what they are, just simple actions from their own needs are interesting for me to watch. This is not about doing certain things better, flawless or beautifully, maybe it’s just about doing them like how they would normally do, maybe not thinking about it too much. And with their own mobile phones, people live-streamed parts of sculptures, actions, and conversations. So people feeling comfortable or getting into the event naturally was what we hoped for, it was not something scripted or played.

 

N:    Does this affect how you film it? (also through Zoom)? 

Y:    I think so, I liked the idea that each one brings their own mobile phone and live-streams through Zoom. The number of guests is the number of eyes to film the event. They have the freedom to place the phones and film the way they want to. Zoom shows the name of the person in the corner of the screen, and I think that can be the credit of who makes each live-streamed shot. Instead of me setting the camera and making visual decisions on how to document, I thought it would be interesting to let people film how and what they want. And then the sound configuration by Zoom was the editor of the live-streamed footage. The sounds from the event; people’s talking, eating the sculptures, putting the cutlery on the table, or laughing became the unnoticed triggers to change the shot of live-streaming constantly. It’s live-streamed and edited simultaneously, this is unlike filming and editing which are decided what to show and what to cut out afterward. 

 

Why is this casualness important for you when people experience your sculptures?

N:    To have this sensitivity with the gestures and to be able to search these things that we were searching for, it was important to have an atmosphere that is comfortable for the people who were taking part in the event. To let your body and mind work together, be intuitive and free when searching and experiencing, there can’t be things that restrict you too much. For example if you go to a museum and there is a feeling that you have to behave, this kind of atmosphere might interrupt you from getting emotional and connected. We get information about the environment and it’s part of the experience. If you are aware of yourself too much, the sensibility of the situation changes. 

 

But you were also talking about the attitude of people, as an energy. What kind of feeling do you get from the person? I think it’s the same thing that I’m trying to explain actually. Or how do you feel about this? 

 

Y:    Yes, I also think there are similarities between us when we talk about the subtle difference in sensibilities or attitudes. For example, I like watching people who watch TV at a bar. This casual atmosphere goes with their body gestures I think. When I watch them at a bar, often they do it while eating their food, drinking, talking with someone, giving sideways glances, or just watching as long as they want. And I’m interested in this kind of unconscious or free glimpse and gesture of people. When you do something for your own sake, I think the naturalness of the gestures come together and I would like to incorporate this atmosphere into work. 

 

Maybe it’s interesting that we both talk about this kind of energy/attitude throughout the process. It’s connected to the atmosphere, no?

 

N:    Yeah, I think so too. I’ve been reading about energy quite a lot lately. And when reading quantum physics and about the information or connections that energy (or its carriers) can keep inside themselves, I started to think about material and our bodies in a different way. The idea of information in material and information floating in the air (with light and heat) got me interested in thinking about our bodies' capability to use this information; how it affects us and how the inside of us connects to the outside. In any way I think we are more complicated than we think and we somehow narrow down our senses to mostly visuality and thinking to logicality. With this event, with the sculptures and the group dynamics, I wanted to search this complexity and the question of connecting to the outside and others. We are part of this energy cycle partly with food but also with our body heat and thoughts (which are electrical impulses). I was thinking how the energy of the sculptures turns into movement and thought, connecting them to each other and to this cycle. 

 

Y:    It’s been always a part of our process that we let things happen and see what or how it will be. And we try to search those intangible sensibilities in different mediums and languages, like through your sculptures and materials and through people’s body, gestures and video.

Overview, Dinner In The Forest Garden, 2020. 

Overview, Dinner In The Forest Garden, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Melted sugar, roasted sugar, natural orange flavour, coconut milk, soy milk, vanilla beans, water, agar agar, agave syrup, Youngeun's mom's roasted bean flour, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Melted sugar, sea salt, wheat flour, water, beetroot, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Cashew nuts, olive oil, water, penicillium roqueforti spores (fermented), melted sugar, agar agar, agave syrup, Youngeun's mom's roasted bean flour, frozen olive oil , 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Melted and roasted sugar, agar agar, chocolate, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Melted sugar, frozen olive oil, 2020. 

Overview, Dinner In The Forest Garden, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, 100 years old rye starter x 1 year old wheat starter, water, wheat flour (whole grain and plain), salt, oil, baked in maple and rise flour, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, 100 years old rye starter x 1 year old wheat starter, water, wheat flour (whole grain and plain), salt, oil, baked in maple and rise flour, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Sea salt, water, wheat flour, beetroot, potato, sweet potato, chick pea, tahini, oil, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Frozen olive oil, fennel, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Sea salt, water, wheat flour, beetroot, potato, sweet potato, chick pea, tahini, oil, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Melted sugar, natural black colorant, coconut milk, soy milk, vanilla beans, water, agar agar, agave syrup, Youngeun's mom's roasted bean flour, chocolate, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Chcolate with natural mint, orange and lemon flavour, 2020

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Melted sugar, roasted sugar, natural orange flavour, coconut milk, soy milk, vanilla beans, water, agar agar, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Overview, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Melted and roasted sugar, natural orange flavour, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Melted and roasted sugar, natural orange flavour, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Melted sugar, Matcha powder, agar agar, red bean paste, dark sugar, potato flour, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Overview, 2020. 

Dinner In The Forest Garden, Cashew nuts, olive oil, water, penicillium roqueforti spores (fermented), 2020. 

And after 2 hours

THANK YOU

 

Guests, Bruno Alves de Almeida, Hamid Soleymani, Romy Finke, Jacob Hoving, Asli Burger, Luisa Puterman, Bread Omens (Elina Rantasuo and Jani Purhonen),

 

Jan Van Eyck Academie, Saastamoinen Foundation, ARKO Arts Council Korea,