Saturday 20 January at 3 pm the CAC invites you to meet at Autarkia for a performative sauerkraut making workshop, led by Michaela Meise and Alexis Groertz. During the event we will be making sauerkraut and communicating with each other about the bacteriological background of fermentation as well as the cultural and philosophical aspects of it.

As Lithuania has a vital tradition of food fermentation, the event will be a reciprocal exchange of experience between the artists and the audience. As in the saying “bringing owls to Athens”, Michaela and Alexis are bringing sauerkraut to Vilnius. Fermentation teaches us about being part of a culture and being an individual at the same time. For example, there are “cultures” of bacteria, which have been passed on by one single family for generations to make yogurt. The yogurt bacteria are literally part of the family and have a unique flavor and consistency that is prized and protected.

The flavors of our workshop will be mixed, because we will combine bacteria of our hands, the yeasts, sugars, vegetables and combined spices from Europe, Asia and Africa. Please come and bring your grandparents and neighbors to participate in the cultural “cultured” experience!

Participants are encouraged to collectively interact with the ingredients supplied (cabbage, salt, spices….) in a large basin all together. With many hands, and thus many bacteria, we create a community-kraut and thus a super-kraut. The process of massaging and feeling the vegetable material as a whole group becomes a therapeutic and cathartic act, where we can connect with our food and taste our hands.

During the workshop Michaela Meise will read a text by the French philosopher, linguist, psychoanalyst and cultural theorist Luce Irigaray, written specifically for this workshop.
Incorporating elements of sculpture, installation, photography, and video, the eclectic artistic practice of Michaela Meise is characterized by a “loaded nonchalance”, as one reviewer put it. Her sculptures transform furniture pieces into explorations of balance or unsettling vehicles for the display of idiosyncratic objects, including figurines, photographs, and books. Meise’s New York debut incorporated her various reactions to the themes and conflicts presented by the city: it included wall sculptures of cutout hearts (an homage to the ubiquitous “I [heart] New York” trope), photographs of a dance performance in the Central Park, minimalist sculptures and the film that interspersed footage of antiquity sites with shots of Neoclassical architecture in New York.

Michaela Meise was born in 1976 in Hanau, Germany. She lives and works in Berlin.

Alexis Goertz, who is the co-founder of ‘Edible Alchemy’, knows how to turn food in to gold: the secret is called fermentation! In the time of disinfectants, antibiotics and canned food, we forgot about these perfectly probiotic cultures, passed on from generation to generation, the valuable vitamins and nutrients they hold and of course their amazing tastes! Alexis takes the scary concept of ‘bacteria, yeast and mold’ and makes the science behind these seemingly scary topics not only understandable, but fun and extremely delicious. Alexis has taken the ‘Art of Fermentation’ to different countries to explore the meaning of these traditional techniques, share her knowledge and trade bacterial cultures in order to share these unique tastes and practices with others wherever she goes. Fermentation is quickly becoming a lost art, but it is being reclaimed as an energy-efficient, food preservation technique, rooted in our cultural past that provides a unique approach to whole food nutrition and cultural exploration.

Alexis Goertz was born in 1990 in Winnipeg, Canada. Lives and works in Berlin.