Cucina Semi-Aquatica will use locally collected recipes as an entry point to discuss the ethics and economics of food in two localities that both possess a symbiotic and historical connection between land and water. Using local recipes as a critical lens, the project aims to study and draw parallels between traditional food systems and potential tools and networks of solidarity in Sant'Erasmo island in Venice and the Liverpool and Leeds Canal in the north of England.
The island of Sant'Erasmo has been a source of food for Venice since the 1500s, and is known as Orto di Venezia, which translates as The Garden of Venice. The island has undergone many changes over the years and is home to incredible stories of resilience and learning, as well as projects that challenge the way the lagoon works.
The Liverpool and Leeds Canal, which once represented the height of economic innovation and enterprise in the United Kingdom, has developed multiple identities and uses. This includes unique grounds for urban and rural wildlife and biodiversity regeneration, leisure spaces for local communities and national and international visitors, and sites of historical interest.
Drawing a parallel between these two unique realities, Cucina Semi-Aquatica will use the simple tool of cooking together (online) through a live, open classroom to begin an informal dialogue around the collective imagination for the future of these two sites. The recipes of Cucina Semi-Aquatica will be prepared simultaneously across multiple kitchens in a virtual performance that will serve as an exercise of coordination and collaboration. This classroom will use online media as a mechanism of virtual collective action and learning. It will also be part of the School for Civic Action (SCA), a pedagogical experiment developed by the not-for-profit critical design practice Public Works, which tests situated modes of learning in support of civic city-making while challenging traditional urban teaching and disciplinary restriction.