Artist Jorge Menna Barreto presented his project Londelion in the Serpentine’s first Unwritten Handbook of autumn 2017.
Menna Barreto imagines wild edibles as a site-specific food that speaks to and teaches our bodies and cells how to reconnect to wilderness and the landscape through our digestive systems.
Following research in Hyde Park and with farmers in and around London, he shared his dandelion ice-cream, as he discussed foraging, drawing and site-specificity in his practice.
What can we learn from the wild?
The food we eat today is highly domesticated. Submission and good behaviour are in its molecules, which in turn feed our cells with obedience and processed information. Wild edibles, even though hardly noticed, grow abundantly and spontaneously around us, all the time! Their persistence and insistence are remarkable. No matter how controlled and well trimmed a garden or a monoculture can be, they are there making a difference. This mostly unwanted vegetable presence is constantly doing its job to remind us about vital diversity, enrich the soil and participate in an intricate web of interdependent species. Human civilization has replaced foraging for supermarketing and in turn has lost its sense of place and belonging to this web. For this project, commissioned by Fundação Bienal de São Paulo and developed in partnership with the Serpentine Galleries, the artist recharged ‘eating locally’ to a radical place where we devour our immediate surroundings – in this case, Hyde Park.
2–2.30pm:Go wild, eat wild
All participants and public were invited to feast on dandelion ice cream, made from a specifically created recipe inspired by the wild edibles that grow in Hyde Park.
2.30–3pm: Food in the Expanded Field
Discussion on foraging, drawing, site-specificity and lovavorism among the proposers and participants.
3–4 pm: Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Wild edible walk in the Hyde Park, led by Jason Irving, an expert on the subject.
4–5 pm: If You haven’t Drawn, You Haven’t Seen
Quick drawing workshop on wild edibles, led by Gwen Burns, a botanical illustrator.