Wednesday, 31 August 2011

TEDx Tromsø

"Living cultures - from counteractions to symbiosis"
Talk at TEDx Tromsø, Verdensteateret, 25th August 2011

The word CULTURE comes from the Latin word cultura – meaning to cultivate – to prepare the
ground for something to grow out of. But culture also describes the process of fermentation of food
by activating microorganisms. Humans have over centuries developed different ways of fermenting
foodstuff – partly as a means of preserving food and partly to enhance its taste and qualities. In the
process human culture and microorganisms have developed a symbiotic relationship. The
knowledge and traditions have evolved as a localized phenomena; place specific and always
reflecting the natural resources and identity of the area. With the change to a globalized and
capitalistic world this knowledge is rapidly becoming extinct, and with it goes centuries of
experience and cultural expertise.

Through my work I attempt to revive some of these remaining cultures and cultivate them into living art-works. Not only do I want to give these ancient biological cultures a renaissance. My intention is also to visualise how it is possible to reenergise and revitalise our human culture inspired by the concept of symbiosis. The famous biologist Lynn Margulis claims that it is through symbiogenesis (the merging of two separate organisms to form a single new organism e.g. lichen ) that all innovation is created in nature. It is a primary force in evolution. In this talk I will explore the possibilities of applying the biological principals of symbiogenesis as a model for developing a revitalised and sustainable human culture.

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