Primordial Broth

In 2021 Barena Bianca conceived the idea of a metaphoric “Primordial Broth”, a philosophic recipe in which the broth ecompasses all the ingredients that constitute it. The first version of it derived from the venetian lagoon, and it went as an artistic companion for Fiona Middleton and Pietro Consolandi’s essay “Re-Sourcing the Strands of Life: Biocentric politics in the primordial broth”, published by Strelka Mag. In the essay, the authors argue that the primordial soup, from which life emerged after a mysterious event still discussed by the scientific community, represents a key moment of interspecies collaboration in which different forms of life interacted in a chaotic way towards a common goal. In this sense, the very birth of life can be considered as the greatest political achievement reached by an interspecies assembly. From this standpoint, we can see ecosystems as a common heritage that was built by following assemblies of forms of life: the resources that were accumulated through millions of years of biotic action cannot therefore be exploited for the well-being of humans alone. 

To embody this philosophical idea, Barena Bianca developed a broth that includes elements that have passed through the lagoon in different stages of its life: primordial, historical or contemporary. The lagoon itself is in fact a highly dynamic ecosystem, that was shaped through history by more-than-human agents such as the rivers and the sea, and by human action – responsible for its current state, more and more similar to a branch of the Adriatic Sea. 

In this primordial broth, there is no hierarchy and all elements contribute towards the final result, in which many of the participants are disguised or dissolved: but their presence constitutes what the work’s fruitor will experience in the moment of tasting. 

The broth is by nature site-specific: if the first version aimed to embody the different phases of the lagoon, the second – developed during Piantagruél 2021 – created a relationship with the Cavallino peninsula, shaped by the diversion of rivers and that embodies the three souls of the countryside, the lagoon and the sea in a narrow strip of sediments and sands.