03 :: HOT MESS

Flavor of Transformation

July's box takes an afro-futurist look at aliens, invasives, and hybrids. We will send 03 :: Hot Mess artifacts through the Afrorithms Portal to transform / ferment / kimchi our way to greater depth, digestibility and delicious flavors.


UNPACKING Hot Mess


BULLWHIP KELP

Pothecary, Pacific Ocean

We are tangled in stories that are tied to how we relate to one another, to plants, to place. Reflex reactions and stagnant stories keep us swirling in a Hot Mess. Instead of avoiding, dousing, or trying to contain or control these fiery topics, we’re turning up the heat. Let's feed our agni, our inner fires, and practice being in the cultural heat.


Bullwhip kelp forest ecosystems grow in sub-tidal zones from Monterey, California to the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. This complex brown algae provides habitat and food for many species (sea urchins, sea otters, humans…). It is high in protein and dietary fiber and contains nutrients like potassium, magnesium, iodine.


WECK FERMENTATION VESSEL

for making your salt water brine

SEA SALT

Pacific Flake, NorCal CA

김치 {kimchi} was always SALTY.

김 {kim} means "immersed in ocean" and 치 {chi} Korean for "vegetables." Kimchi is a food, a process, and a way Koreans love to eat vegetables.

In 17th century, chili plants arrived to the Korean Peninsula, and kimchi became SPICY. No matter how far, far away a plant comes from, the salty brine and pungent spice of Kimchi makes them feel right at home in the fermentation. As new weather patterns and other changes bring about novel ecosystems, we'll be welcoming lots of newcomers into our local-food diets. Kimchi is ready to lead the welcome wagon!

WHEN DOES "INVASIVE" BECOME "PERVASIVE" BECOME "LOCAL"?

Today, the world's turning up the heat, and kimchi is ready to play a bigger role in our global cuisine!


What new flavors will Kimchi take on?

What other places will Kimchi travel to?

Learn more about Pacific Flake

DASH OF DAZZLE: MULATTO CHILI

Happy Quail Farms, East Palo Alto CA

This dried chili comes wrapped up in a particularly hot-messy story. They’re named Mulatto…(cue conversations about how lineages are noticed and tracked through such naming, and how this relates to belonging/othering.)


Mulatto chili are here to add a dash of dazzle to your DIY Climate Change Kimchi—but that’s jumping ahead a bit in this flavor-message (though departures from linear-timeline-thinking can be a feature of being in the thick of a Hot Mess). And that’s ok. We’re learning how to roll with the unexpected, including time-travel. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Chili Peppers and other spicy foods are a common kitchen-medicine in hot climates. They increase the body’s metabolism, discourage pathogens, and induce sweating and detoxification. Chilis also stimulate appetite because they make everything super-delicious.


Did you know that East Palo Alto was once the vegetable hub for San Francisco?

Learn more about Happy Quail Farms


DASH OF DAZZLE: POISON OAK HONEY

The Honey Ladies, San Jose CA

We were intrigued by the Poison Oak Honey, a sweet and delectable collaboration between a local plant and local insects that are usually considered endangering nuisances.


This honey was collected in San Jose CA by the beekeeper Wendy Towner who also specializes in bee removal.


IT'S NOT JUST PLANTS THAT ARE TAGGED AS INVASIVE SPECIES, AS ALIENS.


In the US, legal immigrants are classified as “aliens.” Plant parts (seeds, spices, fermented foods) travel with people as immigrant foods. And like people, plants migrate to other areas as climates change.



Learn more about The Honey Ladies



MAKING Kimchi

HOT MESS MEMES

Infectious units of meaning

ONE BIG HOT MESS GOES BY THE NAME "CLIMATE CHANGE"
Sometimes sweet isn’t the medicine you need. Sometimes it’s helpful to invite in the tiny wild to make things more digestible and bring in salty, sour, pungent, or bitter flavors, so we’re fermenting this Hot Mess and making Climate Change Kimchi.

How is climate change changing the way YOU (your children or grandchildren) make Kimchi?

What delicious weeds-veggies do you see just by changing your perspective?

What are your invasive/local crunchy plants ripe for kimchi-ing?

How does alien kimchi express our expansive culture of who we are?

MY MOTHER'S ALIEN KIMCHI

June Jo, Palo Alto, CA

When my mother first arrived in America as a grad student, it was 40+ years before H-Mart became a national chain, and the nearest Korean grocer selling Korean vegetables and Korean chili powder was an hour-drive away. Instead, she went to Safeway and replaced Korean cabbage and turnips with broccoli and radishes.

I hated eating my mother’s kimchi growing up in Palo Alto, where I was teased for my “slant eyes,” “flat face,” and “stinky food.” Whenever I was asked, “Where are you from-from?” or “What are you?,” I remember feeling like an alien, just like my immigration green card said I was. I felt ashamed of kimchi. Of my mother. Of myself.

AND, I also loved my mother’s kimchi; it meant I was home and safe. For me, kimchi was a hot mess of feelings.

It took me decades (and learning cultural anthropology) to transform my shame of being a double-colonized Korean into joy and curiosities about flavor messages from my ancestors: wild forest foods, slippery ocean forests, fragrant mushrooms, fermented soybean jang (장), and the tiny wild microbes on my mother’s and her mother’s hands that transformed raw ingredients into salty, sour, umami kimchi.

My mother’s kimchi is the first flavor I want when I visit her home in Seoul. And, what I ask her to make when she visits my home in San Francisco. This gulp of deep umami ocean brine is the flavor message I have been missing most during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When I was 10 years old and we had returned to Seoul, I discovered that my mother’s kimchi is a quick-make “white water” kimchi that is very easy and cheap for a hard-striving exchange student with a kid to make. It is also her favorite style of kimchi that she has been making variations of her whole life. Because she doesn't like hot and spicy, my mother hacked her mother’s kimchi recipe by substituting fresh sweet bell peppers for the spicy Gochugaru that gives kimchi it’s infamous fiery kick and color. Without gochugaru, my mother’s kimchi was more like pre-Columbian “white” kimchi.

MAKE YOUR OWN HOT MESS KIMCHI

Idk what to put

INGREDIENTS

  • 300g water

  • 5g sea salt

  • Crunchy plants nearby

  • Dash of dazzle

MY MOTHER'S ALIEN WATER KIMCHI
First, make a salt water brine (300g water + 5g sea salt) that tastes like a gulp of ocean. Next, add your favorite crunchy vegetable (I used Tokyo Turnips ; broccoli is just too stinky). For super-deliciousness, add a dash of dazzle--fresh pepper, garlic, ginger and/or other spices you love.

After a few days, the tiny wild will no-heat transform the clear salt water brine into cloudy, bubbly Kimchi brine. You will smell kimchi. And, I hope you will enjoy your own crunchy, juicy Hot Mess Kimchi! You can drink the kimchi juice too.

My mother’s kimchi is a lacto-fermentation in brine--the same as Jewish Sour Dill Pickles, which is why my forthcoming children’s book, written with Jacqueline Briggs Martin is Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild (to be released Spring of 2022).


FLAVOR of Transformation

AFRORITHMS

Systems-based Design Strategy

So much change. So much getting stirred up in the recent heat waves. Things are moving fast, getting tangled. Tempers and anxieties are rising with temperatures.

Frankly, it can feel like a Hot Mess.

CAN THIS ENERGY NOURISH US?

Afro-Futurists Ahmed Best and Lonny Brooks of Afrorithm Futures Group AND neuroscientist Dr Sará King of MindHeart bend space-time with new stories ripe for moment.

LET'S KIMCHI OUR WAY THROUGH THE HOT MESS TOGETHER!

Some ancestral stories say we emerged out of Africa

Others say we emerged out of the Sea

Can we imagined a future from a shared present, rather than a divided past?

What is the cuisine for this Hot Mess moment?

How do we nourish all, ALL of aliveness?
Of human bodies, plant bodies and places?


AUGUST'S ARTISTS

Afro-Rithm Futures Group & Mind Heart Consulting

AHMED BEST

Writer, director, producer, actor, musician, host and futurist.

Adjunct Lecturer at USC School Of Dramatic Arts, Senior Fellow at USC Annenberg school for Communication and Journalism, Host of STAR WARS Jedi Temple Challenge, Host of the Afrofuturist podcast. CEO of BISN Media. He starred in the Broadway musical Stomp. He then went on to be the first CGI lead character in a motion picture starring as Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

LONNY BROOKS

Professor in the Department of Communication at California State University, East Bay.

Brooks is co-executive producer, with Ahmed Best, of The Afrofuturist Podcast. Brooks is co-editor for the special issue: “When is Wakanda? Afrofuturism & Dark Speculative Futurity” (Journal of Futures Studies); lead co-organizer in Oakland, for the Black Speculative Arts Movement; Co-Creative Director for the Afro-Rithm Futures Group, using gaming and other media for imaginative, action-oriented thinking to democratize the future. Brooks creates games envisioning social justice futures for Black, Indigenous & Queer liberation and co-designed the game Afro-Rithms From The Future. He is currently on the editorial board for the forthcoming Handbook of Universal Foresight (2022)

DR SARÁ KING

Neuroscientist, political and learning scientist, education philosopher, social-entrepreneur, public speaker, and certified yoga and mindfulness meditation instructor.

She is currently a post-doctoral fellow in Neurology at OHSU (Oregon Health Science University) in the Oregon Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Neurological Disorders, a Garrison Institute Fellow and Society for Neuroscience Associate, She is also the founder of MindHeart Consulting, a scientific consulting firm through which she offers up “The Science of Social Justice” framework and the “Systems Based Awareness Map” (SBAM) which she created to explore our capacity to heal intergenerational trauma and promote the well-being of "collective nervous systems".



WUNDERLAND is an open-sourced Community Supported {FOOD} Art Project lead by June Jo Lee, Kyra Kristof and Kirsten Ritschel. We produce 48 CSA boxes + Digital Wrapper of a flavor experience designed in dialogue with artists working at the edge of food systems change circa B.G. (Before Googlable). We ship these boxes to our community members and host an online party to Unpack (ideas), Make (new lived experiences) and Taste (the flavor of transformation) together. We use frameworks to guide our thinking and to make emergence more legible. We aim to inspire and resource food leaders to be/do the change that only they can do.