From Here You Can Almost See The Sea - Islands, isolation and participation
Summer 2019 in Öland, Sweden at Kultivator Residency.
The year 2016 marked the 500th anniversary of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, his short book describing the fictional island of Utopia, a regimented but model community. The word was coined by Sir Thomas More with a pun in Greek, meaning “no place” and “good place.”
The first residency edition of the Field Kitchen Academy revisits Utopia in an island located in one of the most happiest countries of the world (according to world happiness report presented by the United Nations). During the course of one month, 10 project participants will think, evaluate, create and experiment with experts around the topics of “islands, isolation and participation” in the island Öland. Around the kitchen table and in the fields, we will tackle with the issue through alternative strategies and explore new practices with artists and interdisciplinary experts from Islands and remote areas.
Islands have always been an ideal place in the heads of continent dwellers, and a land surrounded by water is perceived as the perfect place for utopian experiments and paradise on Earth. It has been perceived as a tabula rasa where new starts can take place, and the human kind can form the ultimate version of its perfect life with a perfect community. Considering islands as small continents, or microcosmic models of the best possible places, the questions on different levels and perspectives will arise from our kitchen while exploring “islands, isolation and participation”: When art and life becomes an amalgamate in the natural course of life, can it lead us to a well designed community? Surrounded with the Nordic seas how much are we close to "a republic's best state and of the new island Utopia” (as literally translated from More’s complete title of his book “De optimo rei publicae deque nova insula Utopia”)? In the time that of sustainable development is seen as a global strategy by taking into account economy, environment, society and culture and thus end poverty and create inclusive societies; does it worth revisiting the idea of Utopia? Or else, is it solely a romantic naive approach we are carrying 503 years later, when a new geography of power is constructed out of relations we have with each other across the globe?