Ongoing research on greenhouse cultivation practices
Not Quite California Wonder explores the entangled environmental role of bell pepper plants over time as food, industry, a symbol of political power, and an ecological catalyst. Through film, artifacts, spatial installations, exhibitions, and events we aim to demystify the romanticized vision of agricultural practices and expose environmental conflicts by revealing the hidden production process of bell peppers with its successes and difficulties.
Throughout the research, we work in close collaboration with agricultural engineers, botanists, and farmers to uncover alternative experiences of contemporary agricultural spaces. We joined a plant protection engineer to explore the insect population of a greenhouse in Szentes, we spent a harvest day with a bell pepper farmer at Pamhagen; we mixed powder-based nutritions and fed an entire greenhouse of plants with a single click, we learned to harvest seeds in order to start our own domestic bell pepper plantation. We hold several workshops in order to rethink our relationship with bell peppers collectively. We use speculative thinking and participation as investigative tools.
Momentarily, we are developing a large-scale digitally printed carpet to accompany the narrative and to allow the visitors to discover the hidden facts of greenhouse environments through a sensorial experience. Initially, the carpet was designed for the Hungarian Pavilion part our our proposal, Walk under the midnight sun to the 2023 Venetian Architecture Biennale that we submitted together with the curators, Anna Tüdős, Judit Szalipszki and Emese Mucsi, from the BÜRO imaginaire collective. The carpet is a multi-layered architectural storytelling tool that reveals its content from various perspectives and walking paths. Each frame, symbol, and pattern is carefully located and designed to draw out the - natural, technological, or material - kin of the Capsicum plant and to highlight their dynamics as well as their changing relationships with their environment, both in time and in space.
Images by Fuzzy Earth and Vlad Bacila
Not Quite California Wonder was displayed at Igor Metropol (HU, 2020), at the Budapest Design Week (HU, 2020), at the Off-Biennale (HU, 2021) part of the Menü Imaginare exhibition, at PLACCC art festival (HU, 2021) in Budapest, and at A4 part of the White Night festival in Bratislava (SK, 2022).