Media: My focus will be multidisciplinary, with emphasis on performance and social practice, with artifacts in photography, drawing, sculpture, and video. Media will include homemade and store bought loafs of bread, knäckebröd, grocery store items, locally sourced grain when possible, and vintage textiles and sewing notions (yarn, thread, fabrics) from Erikshjälpen Second Hand. / MV
“My starting point was the search for my identity in foreign places, in places where I am estranged from myself.” - Rirkrit Tiravanija
As a maker, I discover myself in the estrangement made available by the unfamiliar. Whether that be unfamiliar places, tastes, or experiences. Det Goda Brödet investigates the social and communal nature of food through various iterations surrounding bread. The project will humbly approach the community of Värnamo to produce several artistic platforms to exchange stories, recipes, and trust–with bread as the catalyst. Bread is not only a key economic and cultural signifier of identity, but bread is downright biblical. They irony is I neither bake nor worship with any proficiency. It is not for lack of skill or faith, but for lack of patience.
Det Goda Brödet welcomes collaboration by asking residents of Värnamo to bake with me–and me, asking to deserve to be baked with. The initial outcomes will be a series of modest photographic portraits of people, kitchens, and bread. These images will seed a petite brödbiblioteket or brödarkiv, combined with bread recipes, new and old, from local citizens. Not dissimilar to how women would collect and share small volumes of recipes in a church cookbook. In return, the results and related artifacts will be shared with contributors.
As my knowledge of Värnamo strengthens, I will create an interactive public embroidery experiment of knäckebröd with yarn and other sewing notions from Erikshjälpen Second Hand. The surface of the knäckebröd lends itself to text and image needlework, with its organic grid of indentations. The happening, in a shared public space, welcomes everyone to contribute by embroidering personal epitaphs on the knäckebröd while sharing conversation and coffee. The results will be documented and exhibited.
In conclusion of my proposed time in Värnamo, I will take several walks through the city, wearing shoes made from loafs of bread, tentatively titled En Brödvandring. The walks, in an oblique way, reference “walking in someone else’s shoes”, while meditating on cultural perspectives surrounding identity, other than one’s own. / MV
ARTISTS INITIAL APPROACH
”I spent much of my adult life looking for good bread, the bread my grandmother baked for my mom. Not out of some health-conscious or grand moral desire, but simply for taste... a taste of cultural identity. My mother spoke a great deal about the homemade limpa she grew up with. The project in Värnamo will address the personal journey, and almost mythologic relation to various breads. I wish to collaborate with Värnamo residents, and the Småland landscape, to form socially oriented and performative artworks with bread as a primary focus. These interactions will not be heavily scripted, but will be multi-faceted with several tiers of collaborative development."
- Melissa Vandenberg
NOTES ON RESEARCH WEEK IN VÄRNAMODuring the Distancio site visit in November of last year, I was fortunate to meet the people and town of Värnamo. Everyone was generous with their knowledge of Värnamo, past and present. This was my second trip to Sweden, but first to Småland. Being of Swedish descent, I am grateful to see Värnamo through the eyes of long-term residents.