Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why am I doing this ?

In 2006 I was strolling through a local market in Neukölln, Berlin, when I found a five-headed eggplant among the vegetables of one of the stands. Stunned by the sight I kept looking for more anomalies and found one or more at almost every stand of the market, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, lemons, all with very unusual features and shapes. I took my finds home and started photographing them. That day I got hooked on collecting vegetable and fruit mutations and the Idea for the Mutato-Archive was born.
The Mutato-Archive is a collection of non-standard fruits, roots and vegetables, displaying a dazzling variety of forms, colours and textures, that only reveal themselves when lawfully enforced standards cease to exist. The complete absence of botanical anomalies in our supermarkets has caused us to regard the consistency of produce presented there as natural. Produce has become a highly designed, monotonous product. We have forgotten, and in many cases never experienced, the way fruits, roots, and vegetables can actually look (and taste). The Mutato-Project serves to document, preserve and promote these last remainders of agricultural diversity.
Since 2006 I am collecting, documenting and eating
Mutatoes. Over the years, through research on the topic, I learned more and more about the logic and workings our food system. At a certain point I started to realize that it is not only the natural occurrence of morphological irregularities in the growth of single plant varieties that is being suppressed and filtered out by the industrial food system. In fact, only a tiny fraction of high yielding, good looking varieties are being grown and distributed today, even though there are literally thousands of varieties of any domesticated fruit or vegetable. Since the green revolution agriculture has experienced a mass extinction. A vast majority of plant varieties that humans have bred over the past 10 000 years has vanished within the last 50 years. The detachment of the people from the land, from the processes of food production has allowed this extinction to happen behind the scenes, without any public awareness. The ever increasing amount of processed foods and food imports also contributed to the illusion that the diversity of our food supply was increasing not declining.
I started a farm to be able to experience what it takes to grow food, to botanically, culinary and visually experience part of the remaining fraction of agricultural diversity, to expand the visual repertoire of the Mutato-Archive and to potentially and eventually help raise awareness of the forgotten, breathtaking diversity of domesticated nature.


  1. This is a great project, great and new! I will follow it from my little urban vegetable garden in Uruguay.
    Plis keep posting!!



  2. Thanks Carola,
    i haven't been posting in a while, but will do so again very soon. all the best, greetings to Uruguay ! Uli