ULTRAHOSPITALITY FIELD MEAL 1: SANCOCHO FLORAL
Community Portal presents...
Flier by Mercado Lourdes Chapinero, wallpapered by Jeanine van Berkel.
A series of field meals organized by Escuela de Garaje.
Part of the field work for Ultradependent Public School (01 April–27 May 2023).
WHEN: Saturday, 04 February 2023, 13:00 hrs
WHERE: Mercado Lourdes Chapinero, Calle 64, # 8–34, Bogotá, Colombia
HOW: Free entrance, no registration required.
Using the sancocho (a pan-Latin American soup with no fixed recipe) as a tool for research and encounter, Mercado Lourdes in Bogotá, Colombia will host and organize a series of field meals. These events activate and connect the multiple affects that have resulted from ongoing research with local producers into the biodiversity of the territory.
Mercado Lourdes proposes its market as a site for recurring encounters, a cultural portal, and a place for improvisation. On the day of this feast, it will become a community kitchen with an open call for hands to join in. The food will be cooked and served in the front garden of the market, a semi-public space in the heart of Bogotá’s Chapinero neighborhood.
Fully believing in the power of coincidences and in the spirit of sancocho’s fluid recipe that works with what is at hand, guests will propose a sancocho for each session and participate in the workings of the session itself.
Alongside the sancocho, other things that are brewing and fermenting in the market will be served, such as guarapo (fermented sugarcane drink).
FIELD MEAL: SANCOCHO FLORAL/FLOWERY SANCOCHO
Saturday, 04 February 2023
Almost every vacation we would go to my grandfather’s farm, located in a small corner of the Colombian Caribbean: Sahagún, Córdoba. The days of rest were eternal, and the infernal heat would make me lie down near the fan while I watched the only three channels that the TV antenna could locate.
When I would get bored and my eyes would glaze over, I would go out with scissors to look for the ingredients to a great banquet. I would cut vibrant flowers from my grandmother’s garden and mix them in a small totuma (bowl made from the husk of the hollow totuma fruit) with water, earth, stones, and colorful leaves. I would mix them very well and serve my imaginary guests a beautiful but perishable sancocho, because after a few minutes the flowers would fade in the water.
Sancocho Floral is the first of many memorable memories that will emerge into sunlight.
And what was your first sancocho?
Bocachico sancocho with yam, yucca, green plantain, shredded coconut, and tamarind.
Fragrant rice comeflor (flavored with the essence of a flower), decorated with sesame in boronas or titoté.
Panela guarapo with mandarin lemon.
Kola Roman balls with rose water and frozen roses.
Since October 2022, seven study groups have been doing field work towards BAK Community Portal’s first large-scale public project, Ultradependent Public School (UPS), which opens from 01 April–27 May 2023.
Ultradependent Public School unfolds as the public negotiation of a curriculum to learn what we really need to enact the worlds we really want. It is co-convened with an extended faculty of students, educators, and practitioners. Emphasizing study as a radically collective, public labor that lives in-between institutionalized hierarchies, UPS inhabits the edges between formal classrooms and everyday life. It navigates kitchens, print studios, housing squats, community centers, garages, radio stations, hallways, public transportation, and sidewalks as sites of study.
Ultrahospitality is one of these field work nodes. It thinks through the kitchen as a space where study and political action meet: growing, preparing, and serving food to gather community through communal learning. Its fermented curriculum focuses on connecting food activists, agri-cultural workers, and food security advocates.
Ultrahospitality proposes sancocho as a methodology to thicken community connections. It is a familiar recipe, often prepared by neighborhood kitchens in Latin America. Sancocho is a traditional soup found across Spanish post-colonial cuisines. It has has no universal recipe. Perhaps it is more cosmological in nature. Every region or locality has its own take, usually a combination of what is at hand, social relations, and stories. You could say that from a sancocho it is possible to reconstruct not only the cultural history of a region but also its economic and social kinships. For us, it represents a way of doing that is situated, unassuming, and collective.
Ultrahospitality is convened by Escuela de Garaje (Garage School), initiated in Bogotá in 2013 as an informal program that improvises with its structure, depending on subject and context. The school needs minimal-to-no infrastructural endowment and is interested in knowledge and tools that are considered irrelevant, of low quality, without official validity. The general objective of the school is to collectively unlearn freely and for free. This iteration of the escuela is hosted by Santiago Pinyol, an undisciplined artist who situates his practice on the coastlines of art and education. Responding to his context, he produces installations, interventions, cultural platforms, and ephemeral schools.
Mercado Lourdes is a chevere market. We are located in the Colombian Andes in a city that connects the Chingaza and Sumapaz paramos. We are surrounded by food-producing peasant communities, guarantors of food sovereignty for millions of people. In our market—which is also a food research laboratory—we bring together a variety of elegant agricultural practices. In the process of dialogue with the territories around Bogotá, we have discovered that art and biology articulate a sensitivity and pedagogy of powerful plants, with the subtlety of feeding from care. Simultaneously, a neighborhood and a network of affections are articulated. This way, each product is a journey traceable to the hands of the body that sowed seeds to share abundance with a larger collective.
Valentina Frías Álvarez
My name is Valentina Frías Álvarez and my life is a collage. I was born in a territory called Colombia, I was raised by my grandparents between the plains of the Colombian Caribbean and the capital city, while loving the academic world and at the same time picking ripe mangoes from the trees.
I am a multidisciplinary designer. Intuition, childlike sensibility, and innocence guide my creative process, although I sometimes consider myself more of an artist than a designer. I am captivated by analog media, craft, cooking, fashion, collage, and memory. I often feel like an ambitious chameleon, traveling to places where sunshine and popular culture abound.
Since 2020 I have been a consultant for the ACDI/VOCA LA Foundation, where I have accompanied craft projects with indigenous communities in Colombia. Additionally, I work on Memorabilia, a long-term autoethnographic project, where I create a tribute to memory and design for longevity through upcycling, material experimentation, and the resignification of my family archive.
I want to create an amalgam between art direction, community design, crafts, and the preservation of cultural heritage in Colombia. In the end, I just want to have fun in everything I do, create, and emphasize the importance of not forgetting who I am and where I come from.