Gabó Bartha: Terrapolis Tarcal, 2019

3 channel videoinstallation, camera and editing by Endre koronczi

I like to eat well.[1] I have been researching food, talking and writing about it, exhibiting, organizing, cultivating, collecting, and making it, eating it and feeding others for a long time.

I started organizing the local community to save the Hunyadi Square market in Budapest. During this time, I got to know this way of food production, co-organized conferences and exhibitions on markets, and took part in international biodiversity meetings of activist producers. Social practice was completed with ecology when after successfully saving the market, I started cultivating a garden in Tokaj-Hegyalja. This has led to the Terrapolis permaculture garden and a guest table in Tarcal in 2016, where I’m just dealing with this, still at the meeting point of border areas (this involves more biodiversity in ecology). Terrapolis is named after Donna Haraway and Enikő Balla, and its totem plants are the garden orache and the chard.

Terrapolis is different from pot-gardens operated with a clear purpose and direction, and is also of the more contemplative kind of permaculture, where plants are increasingly given free space.

When I started making food for others, I didn’t know it involved so much leaf tearing. But during the slow fumbling, the plants began to talk to me, and I recognized the person in them, and the plant within myself.

At the table, I can share the insights and feelings I have gained through my fellow plants and other living and inanimate companions in the garden about food and everything related to it. Your body is my body. A long-lasting storytelling of many species.

I would have contributed to the exhibition mainly by receiving visitors, but this did not happen. Just as I have doubts about the transportability of the fruits, leaves and flowers of the garden without loss of condition, the display of the garden in a video installation also primarily makes me feel its absence.

The videos were made in early March following a mild winter. The perennials were just beginning to show and the previous year’s plants were also visible in the form they overwintered. We are panning the garden almost leaf by leaf, picking edible plants. In the other video, I then show a slowing-down dish, which I developed little by little, during which the participants have the opportunity to get out of their own time (What is plant time like?): a leaf and flower tasting with sourdough bread and butter made here (it is a bit bizarre to talk to the camera without tablemates). And after the long day, Endre Koronczi kept asking me about this chimera[2] (the result of which you could take away from the exhibition) and at night we were even looking for worms.

[1] Jacques Derrida, „Eating Well”, or the Calculation of the Subject: An interview with Jacques Derrida. In E. Cadava, P. Connor and J-L. Nancy (eds.), Who Comes After the Subject? New York and London, Routledge, 1991.

[2] Donna Haraway, SF: Speculative Fabulation – String Figures. In: The Book of Books. Documenta (13), ed. Katrin Sauerlander. (Ostfildern, Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2012), 253–255.

Terrapolis – Tarcal videoinstallation, detail, (Night) 10th, March 2019

Terrapolis – Tarcal videoinstallation, detail, (Garden) 10th, March 2019

Terrapolis – Tarcal videoinstallation, detail, (Tasting Plants) 10th, March 2019