Latvian milk takes centre stage at Castle Groeneveld
Multimedia project imaginatively shows how dairy ends up on street market in Utrecht as Rigamont cheese.
Yesterday Castle Groeneveld in Baarn had the Dutch premiere of the MILK-project. A multimedia installation that imaginatively shows how milk from Latvian cows eventually ends up being sold as Rigamont cheese on a street market in Utrecht. But it’s not so much about the cows and the cheese as the way the persons concerned (the farmer, the truck driver, the consumer) relate to their environment.
Artist Esther Polak (42) from the Netherlands and researcher Ieva Auzina (28) from Latvia worked together on the MILK-project. A forty-minute show simultaneously shown on two screens that is exiting, funny and surprising is the result.
Visitors can sit on one of the comfortable sofas with flower motive. An LCD screen shows how a little dot draws lines (tracks) through the landscape. These are the tracks of the person that has spent a day wearing a GPS tracking device. Next to it a large projection screen shows portraits of the participants of the project. On an audiotape we can hear how they react to their own tracks.
The visualization software has been specially developed for the MILK-project by Marcus The.
Polak: It seems as if farmers don’t take as much time to contemplate their life’s as city people. They work so hard everyday that there is no time for that”. During the ‘workshops’ (that’s how Polak and Auzina called the meetings at the end of the day, at which the participants reacted to their own tracks) there was always a moment of contemplation and reflection. One participant noticed how Latvia now looks like the Netherlands in the sixties”.
The project produces nine personal portraits of people or couples from Latvia, Italy and the Netherlands.
In one of the portraits the tracks show how the participant drives a rotunda the wrong way round. Another funny moment is a couple writing down the coordinates of their encounter with a rabbit during a forest walk. In seeing his tracks farmer Janis Simsons is surprised at how fast time passes.
The message that Polak wants to give the visitors of the installation is that there is a connection between the porc chop they buy in the supermarket and that boring hike through the cornfields. “Consumers don’t need to be so passive. They really have a say in what is served on their plates at night. For her it’s the fun in knowing. For city people the country has become the décor of bike rides in their spare time. For farmers it’s a place of hard work. You actually ride through someone’s place of work”.