Spore & Pollen Lire en Français
150 guests gathered for the 3 course, 5 performances banquet
A wide U shaped table was set around the museum stairs
Card printed for entremets & dessertEach course and performance was announced by a card
“Spore” entremets Sourdough brioche, cheese and crystallised sage
“Pollen” dessert Chebakias, fake-vanilla honey cream and roasted grapes
The Soft Protest Digest is a research collective associating Danish farmer and artist Nickie Sigurdsson with Adel Cersaque.
Answering to the invitation of contemporary art museum Palais de Tokyo, The Soft Protest Digest took part of “Le Banquet”, a dinner introducing the museum's exhibition “Futur, ancien, fugitif”, dedicated to the “french art scene”. Taking place on November 20th 2019, the collective served an entremets* and a dessert to the 150 guests of the dinner, titled respectively “Spore” and “Pollen”.
Each of the two dishes served as the illustration of a problematic related to the impact of small, often disregarded, organisms on the environment. To that end, “Spore” aimed to address the various invisible uses of fungi and yeast in the production of food, as well as its prevalence and effects on our planet’s ecosystems through collaboration with plants. “Pollen”, on the other hand, focused on the current collapse of pollinators biodiversity through the prism of the bee. This dish led the collective to meet and work with beekeeper and biologist Julien Perrin based in Essonne, 40km from Paris. He was featured in the podcast “An open-source bee for a poisonous environment” we recorded for the occasion.
To foster empathy towards insects, we have worked on describing an “Umwelt”** of the activity of a bee at the first person. This text was written by The Soft Protest Digest and later evaluated, word by word, by Fanny Rybak, biologist and researcher at the French CNRS institute, specialized in inter-species communication.
*The term designates a dish served in between two others. In our case, between main and dessert. **The cognitive perception of the environment by a given specie.
Spore ♦ This sharing platter consisted of black brioches*, aged pecorino cheese and puffed crystallised sage. Shaped like multiplicating yeast cells, the sourdough brioche was produced without egg, milk or butter which were swapped for oat cream and aquafaba**. To add to its texture when cooled, the brioche was injected with walnut oil. For this entremets, we have called on the use of a diversity of fungal species: 1st, the yeast S. Cerevisiae as well as a multitude of wild yeasts hosted by the sourdough used in the brioche. 2nd, The propionibacteriums and wild yeasts that allows sheep milk to become the cheese. Finally, sage can on the contrary be used as an antidote to protect bread from mold.
*A typical french bread in which fat is incorporated. **The water you get from cooking dried beans.
Pollen ♦ This dessert consisted of buckwheat chebakias* dipped, glazed and preserved in honey, later sprinkled with pollen. These fried flaky pastries were served with a lightly whipped fake-vanilla** honey oat cream as well as salt roasted grapes. Illustrating a talk on the collapse of biodiversity caused by the mono-culture environment now facing pollinator insects, this dish was deliberately calling on a variety of crops. Mono-product and mono-culture were avoided with the following plants: buckwheat, wheat, potato, oat, peanut, sunflower and olive tree.
*The chebakia is a traditional middle-eastern pastry, often served for Ramadan. **The vanilla seeds were mimicked with powdered dehydrated black sesame, preventing us from supporting the production of an already over exploited exotic ressource.
Going back home