Déjalos Creer // Let Them Believe takes inspiration from Andrei Tarkovsky’s metaphysical masterpiece, Stalker (1979).

During my residency with The Lab Program, Mexico City, I began  a parallel work that replaces the mysterious Estonian scenery with the dynamic neighborhoods of Mexico City.

No landscape is without a perceived viewer and my work calls upon the viewer to see the world as I do, perhaps a different version of reality than theirs.  Slow cinema is alive with elemental forces. Natural environments are temporal subjects and not merely as scenery. French horticulturalist and landscape architect Gilles Clément refers to the left-over spaces outside of cultivation and human use as “Third Landscapes”. These spaces often are border and transient spaces: rural-city, rural-industrial. The film questions  how we can reinforce environmental narrative instead of obliterate them. 

The film's score addresses the sonic aspect of landscape and urban environments. The city sound is material. The camote  stand and the howler of its tin smoke pipe whistle, the metallic hum of the street, the bird song of swing sets. The sound gives density and presence to the images, veneers of acoustics and aesthetic noise. 


Let everything that’s been planned come true.

Let them Believe.

And let them have a laugh at their passions.

Because what they call passion actually is not some emotional energy,

But just the friction between their souls and the outside world.

And most important, let them believe in themselves.

Let them be helpless like children, because weakness is a great thing,

And strength is nothing.

When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible,

When he dies, he is hard and insensitive

When a tree is growing it’s tender and pliant.

But when its dry and hard, it dies.

Hardness and strength are death’s companions.

Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being.

Because what has hardened will never win.


The Prayer

from Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker

Screenplay by Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky

Based on Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky

Parte de la práctica de la artista Whitney Vangrin incluye un archivo de bebidas no alcohólicas que exploran difrentes posibilidades de socializar sin alcohol. Durante su tiempo de residencia Vangrin abrió algunas preguntas relacionadas a la politica de la comida, territorialidades y cuerpo, recuperando recetas de bebidas pre-hispanicas, y abriendo preguntas sobre pensamiento de-colonial.

El viernes 29 de Julio, abre su estudio en Talxcala 3 para mostrar procesos y obra hecha durante este mes.


Part of artist Whitney Vangrin's practice includes an archive of non-alcoholic beverages that explore different possibilities for socializing without alcohol. During his time in residence, Vangrin opened some questions related to the politics of food, territorialities and the body, recovering pre-Hispanic drink recipes, and opening questions about de-colonial thinking.

VM: In most of your practice embodiment, and performance for camera, are embedded somehow on your pieces. The three projects that you were working on during the time of residence were navigated, food, landscape and materials. How would you connect these three projects and their material and visual narratives?

The experience of food is often how I ground myself to a new place and has also been how I have substantiated aspects of my art practice. Using food as an art material during my residency has allowed me to navigate a multitude of concepts including: the everyday and art, food as body surrogate, food as offering, food as time-based medium. During my tenure with the Lab Program, I have also been able to explore the symbolic and cultural properties of food, and the mutability and transmutaiton of food. Like the film I am working on in Mexico City, Déjalos Creer/ Let Them Believe, food and fermentation are time-based mediums. This film in its final form will be presented as expanded cinema, involving an installation of sight, sound, texture, smell and taste. By creating non-alcoholic ferments based upon region, the relationship between material and form is mediated by the interaction of the public. I supply Tejuino, Beet Kvass and Hibsicus Jun as a ritualistic offering. With its acceptance, the audience undergoes a multisensory experience where perception, the olfactory, haptic and gustatory perception arte activated. The audience is no longer passive but a dynamic member of the work and its development.

Location is pivotal to the fermentation process; a fermenting body is going to act different in different climates and regions. The environment influences the ferment. The ferments I make in Mexico City will intrinsically be different than the ferments I make in the US. Ferments are site-specific artworks.

By using food or drink as an artistic material I also investigate its cultural and symbolic significance. Tejuino, made from masa harina, piloncillo and water, has origins as a ritualistic beverage. Corn is not only a staple of Mexico, it is also iconic and emblematic. Beet Kvass, is comprised of beetroot, salt and water. The Ukraine beetroot was brought from Byzantium at the timeof Kyivan Rus and has become a stable of daily meal since. Its jewel color and earthly flavor is the main component of borscht- the national soup of Ukraine. By making borscht its national soup, its promotes the idea the importance of gastronomic culture for Ukraine’s identity.

The use of food products have also made its way into my cultivation of inedible biomaterial, including my experimentation with bio-rubber using readily available gelatin. The appeal of the use of bio-rubber lays in the materials own inherent dynamics, that the material is in flux even to the point of mold and decay. 

VM: In less industrial times, we were more aware of how food is linked to a territory and a landscape. In a global time we tend to consume groceries that aren't harvested or produced in the area that we live in. The ecological impact on the easy access of some ingredients makes me think about the relevance of going back on the pleasure and timing of slow food. How does these ideas relate to your practice with brewing non-alcoholic beverages?

Fermentation is a time-based and collaborative medium. Ferments as art have both physical and temporal dimensions. During fermentation, a variety of microorganisms are present in different proportions. Their cooperation produces the process of sugars being broken down by enzymes of microorganism, and perform fermentation. Ferments take time. Lauren Fournier writes in Fermenting Feminism as Methodology and Metaphor: Approaching Transnational Feminist Practices through Microbial Transformation, the following: “fermentation is political; fermentation is vitalism; fermentation is accessibility; fermentation is preservation and transformation; fermentation is interspecies symbiosis and coevolution; fermentation is survival and futurity; fermentation is care of the self and care of others; fermentation is harm reduction; fermentation is queer time; and fermentation is collaboration.”[1] Fermentation is both of the past and of the future. It preserves and it transforms.

The terrain of the kitchen is an extension of my studio, fermentation allows for an interdisciplinary practices that unites microbiology with environmental studies as well as food and gender studies.

Sandor Ellix Katz the American food writer and activist, views fermenting as a radical act against the grips of capitalism and industrial standardization.[2]Fermentation became a central part to his life as a gay man living with AIDS sharing a community with queer homesteaders. I see fermentation as an integral part of futurist and urban homesteading efforts. A part of profound care in the midst of mental and physical illness.



[1] Lauren Fournier; Fermenting Feminism as Methodology and Metaphor: Approaching Transnational Feminist Practices through Microbial Transformation. Environmental Humanities 1 May 2020; 12 (1): 88–112. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-8142220

[2] Katz, S. E. (2017).Wild fermentation: A do-it-yourself guide to cultural manipulation. Microcosm Publishing.

Tejuino

El tejuino es una bebida de maíz fermentado en frío que está llena de sabores dulces, salados y picantes. La bebida se consume popularmente en los estados mexicanos de Jalisco, Chihuahua y Michoacán. Se disputan los orígenes exactos, pero se supone que se remonta a la época precolombina. El antiguo pueblo nahua de México veía al tejuino como una bebida ceremonial, conocida como la "bebida de los dioses". Todavía se sirve en ceremonias y celebraciones hasta el día de hoy. La bebida es fría y cremosa y los tejuineros la venden en vasos de plástico o bolsas aseguradas con popotes cubiertos con un chorrito de limón.
Masa
2 tazas de harina de masa
1 ½ tazas de agua tibia
¼ cucharadita de sal
2 tazas de agua para licuar
(Si tiene acceso a masa fresca, 2 tazas de masa preparada)
Jarabe
16 onzas de piloncillo (2 conos)
4 tazas de agua
2 limas
Servicio opcional
Limas
Asegúrese de que su olla, utensilios y toallas estén esterilizados para evitar la formación de patógenos dañinos.
Haga la masa batiendo la sal y la masa de harina, luego agregue agua tibia y amase hasta formar una masa. Deja reposar tapado con un paño de cocina mientras preparas el almíbar.
En una olla grande y limpia, ponga piloncillo y 4 tazas de agua a fuego lento hasta que el azúcar se haya disuelto. Baje el fuego a bajo.
Usando una licuadora o licuadora de inmersión, mezcle la mitad de la masa con 1 taza de agua. Agregue esta mezcla a la olla de almíbar de piloncillo y repita con la masa restante.
Cocine la mezcla hasta que espese. Retire del fuego y agregue el jugo de 2 limas.
Cubra con un paño de cocina limpio y mantenga el recipiente en un área seca, limpia y fresca. Fermentar durante 48-72 horas. El Tejuino se hace fermentar cuando la textura es espesa y gelatinosa. El color será un marrón consistente sin manchas de moho.
Cuando el tejuno esté listo licúa la mezcla con agua para diluir la textura. Transfiera a una jarra llena de hielo.
Vierta la mezcla en vasos y sirva con unas gotas de lima.
Referencia de receta: Mitch & Justine, 29 de marzo de 2022, Tejuino, Broke Bank Vegan, https://brokebankvegan.com/tejuino/

Tejuino

Tejuino is a cold fermented corn drink that's filled with sweet, salty, and tangy flavors. The drink is popularly consumed in theMexican statesofJalisco,Chihuahua, and Michoacán, The exact origins are disputed but it is assume dates back topre-Columbian times. The ancientNahua peopleof Mexico viewed Tejuino as a ceremonial drink, referred as the "drink of the gods". It is still served in ceremonies and celebrations to this day. The drink is cold and creamy and is sold by tejuineros in plastic cups or bags secured around straws topped with a squeeze of lime.

Masa

2 cups masa harina

1 ½ cups warm water

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups water for blending

(If you have access to fresh masa, 2 cups of prepared masa)

Syrup

16 ounces piloncillo (2 cones)

4 cups water

2 limes

Serving optional

Limes

Make sure your pot, utensils, and towels are sterilized to prevent harmful pathogens from forming.

Make the masa by whisking the salt and masa harina together, then add in warm water and knead it into a dough. Let it rest covered with a tea towel while you prepare the syrup.

In a large, clean stockpot, bring piloncillo and 4 cups of water to simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat down to low.

Using a blender or immersion blender, mix half the masa with 1 cup water. Add this mixture to the piloncillo syrup pot and repeat with the remaining masa.

Cook the mixture until thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the juice of 2 limes.

Cover with a clean teacloth and keep the container in a dry, clean and cool area. Ferment for 48-72 hours. The Tejuino is done fermenting when the texture is thick and gelatinous. The color will be a consistent brown with no spots of mold.

When the tejuno is ready blend the mixture with water to thin the texture. Transfer to a pitcher full of ice.

Pour mixture into glasses and serve with a squeeze of lime.

Recipe Reference: Mitch & Justine, Mar 29, 2022, Tejuino, Broke Bank Vegan, https://brokebankvegan.com/tejuino/


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