Design for Biodiversity – Ritual Engagements with Nature – Vegetable Talk II

Written By Reyhan Yazdani, Photo Credits: Zara Huntley

I remember my grandparents’ house, a brick building with a very large garden in front. 

In the summer, at noon, 

on the table would be baskets of fresh herbs.

Everyone, men and women, would gather around the table. With their sleeves up, talking and laughing loudly, they would prepare the herbs for lunch. 

Through a storytelling approach, the workshop, Vegetable Talk II, explores the notion of rituals in the context of contemporary design and Biodiversity.

The workshop which was offered as part of the Industrial Design Core Studio, invited students to engage in various nature-based ritualistic activities while thinking about the possibilities of storytelling and rituals in design. The set up for the workshop contained a long table covered by a table cloth, divided into separated parts, with ingredients and materials placed on top. Each part had its own story written with instructions leading students through the collective experiences of cutting fruits, pinching leaves, and whispering their thoughts to the water.

Hold the bowl of water in your hands,

Feel the temperature, 

the coldness of it in comparison to your body temperature,

bring it closer to your body, 

let this connection to be strong,

between your body, 

the ceramic bowl,

the water inside, 

look at the water and share your thoughts with the it,

whisper the words, 

be present.

pass the water to the person next to you,

repeat,

when finished, 

drink.

INDD200 Faculty zach Camozzi, Charlotte Falk

Using rituals and contemplation as frameworks for making, the workshop invited students to have a tangible interaction, collaboration and engagement with the materials, stories and each other. As a result of the workshop, among other things, were propositions for new rituals and also tools for eating and consuming the “salad” which was made during the workshop collectively by students. Some concepts and ideas were shared with the class as well as reflections on the experience.

It is the last Wednesday of the Winter.

Everyone gathers around to celebrate the change of the season,

acknowledging that the nature made it through and spring is on its way.

It is the longest night of the year,

they dance, 

drink, 

eat.

At the end of the night,

there will be fireworks.

Pomegranate is the fruit of this night,

symbol of a new beginning.