Aizpute & Alsunga, 20-30.6.2010
Following the first part in March earlier this year during Pixelache Festival, the second part of of the Herbologies/Foraging Networks programme took place around midsummer in Aizpute and Alsunga, within the Kurzme region of Latvia, June 2010.
Interdisciplinary Art Group SERDE, based in Aizpute, coordinated, hosted and invited an international and interdisciplinary group of guests to build upon their experience of engaging cultural heritage subjects as an arts organisation. Signe Pucena, in collaboration with Andrew Gryf Paterson, organised a series of fieldwork excursions to learn about the contemporary practices and cultural heritage related to the use of wild plants, and a temporary media/transcription lab to process the documentations.
Participants include guests from Latvia, Lithuania, various places in Finland, Southern Sweden, Poland, Spain and Belgium.
In the pre-expedition research period, SERDE identified and made a public notice expressing interest in people who still gather herbs for themselves in Aizpute and local region. They also found that there were also active people from the historical Suitu region, who’s traditions have been recognised by UNESCO for their intangible cultural heritage value.
The main topics for herbologies expedition was how to recognise, gather and use wild plants and flowers for: teas, infusions, tinctures, sauna besoms, herbs in home-made cosmetics, midsummer crowns from wild flowers, and as a ‘pharmacy’ of room plants on the window-sill.
We aimed to preserve and document traditional cultural values related to herb-gathering in Latvia, using an intensive (and ideally iterative) production method from agile software development called a ‘sprint’, exemplified in book form by FLOSS Manuals and the alpha Booki platform. Our intensive work period aimed to produce a best-possible draft of text, images and video materials, in some of the different languages used by the participants.
Thirty-two adults in total variably over the 10 days, namely: Ance Ausmane, (LV), Tija Ausmane (LV), Bartaku (BE), Ieva Bernotaite (LT), Ieva Bertasiute (LT), Andrea Garcia/a mínima (ES), Daniel Garcia/a mínima (ES), Maaris Grosbahs/SERDE (LV), Ossi Kakko (FI), Sari Kippilä (FI), Martins Laizans (LV), Aigars Lielbardis (LV), Malin Vrijman Lindmark/Kultivator (SE), Olga Mashkina (RU/FI), Wojtek Mejor (PL), Cristobal Montesinos (ES), Erika Norberg/Svenska Radio (SE), Agrita Ozolina (LV), Andrew Gryf Paterson (SCO/FI), Signe Pucena/SERDE (LV), Ugis Pucens/SERDE (LV), Martins Ratniks/RIXC (LV), Inese Romanovska (LV/FI), Erik Sandelin (SE), Anna Sedlina (LV), Una Smilgaine (LV), Christina Stadlbauer (AT/BE), Åsa Ståhl (SE), Ulla Taipale/Capsula (FI/ES), Ronja Tammenpää (FI), Tuomo Tammenpää (FI), Aiste Virsulyte (LT), Ance Zemzane (LV), plus a few more younger family members.