31 episodes

Welcome to Ferment Radio, a podcast series on micro and macro transformations. Fermentation can incite social action, spark creativity, and bring surprising new tastes to our lives. My name is Aga Pokrywka and I invite you to join us in a conversation on living interconnectivities: from macro to micro, from societal to cellular, and from global to personal.

Ferment Radio Super Eclectic

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Welcome to Ferment Radio, a podcast series on micro and macro transformations. Fermentation can incite social action, spark creativity, and bring surprising new tastes to our lives. My name is Aga Pokrywka and I invite you to join us in a conversation on living interconnectivities: from macro to micro, from societal to cellular, and from global to personal.

    #30: The poetry of antimicrobial resistance (with Iona Walker)

    #30: The poetry of antimicrobial resistance (with Iona Walker)

    Through language, we not only reflect our relationship with the world but also shape it. For example, what does the conviction that we need to “exterminate all superbugs” tell us about humans? Could it be that antimicrobial resistance, which causes antibiotics to become ineffective against microbial infections, is in part driven by a human desire to separate human from nature and eradicate what is ‘impure’, different, or misunderstood?

    On the 30th episode of Ferment Radio, together with Iona Walker, a medical anthropologist living and working in Edinburgh, Scotland, we search for different perspectives on this alarming issue and find inspiration in books, art, films, and poetry.

    We look for cracks, soft spots, and ambiguities to unlearn what we think we know for sure and exercise a new language that could help reshape our relationship with the world, including microbes. Join us in this exciting conversation!

    • 55 min
    #29: Why artists work with bacteria? (a conversation with Laura Beloff)

    #29: Why artists work with bacteria? (a conversation with Laura Beloff)

    On Ferment Radio, we have often talked about how artists use technology and science in order to tackle the microbial world. Do you remember the episode “Play that fungi music!” with Tosca Terán? Or “Interspecies collaborations” with Mindaugas Gapševičius? Some people refer to this kind of practice as “bioart”: the happy place where experimentation and process are more important than concrete results.

    Our guest today is Laura Beloff, an artist, and researcher working at the intersection of art, science, and technology. Laura is also an associate Professor, and Head of the Visual Cultures, Curating, and Contemporary Art Program (VICCA) at Aalto University, in Helsinki, Finland. On this episode of Ferment Radio,  we will delve into the dynamic interdisciplinary niche that likes to collaborate with microbes; reflect on the ethics of working with living organisms; and discuss the incompatibility of a creative endeavor within a neoliberal reality. Oh, and we will also talk about ticks!

    As Laura Beloff points out: artists are antennas for societal moods, and there is a reason why they engage with microbes. And what’s the reason?

    Stick around and tune into the 29th episode of Ferment Radio to find out!

    • 44 min
    #28: Macro consequences of micro processes (a conversation with Colleen C. Myles)

    #28: Macro consequences of micro processes (a conversation with Colleen C. Myles)

    For centuries, fermention has had an important role in the evolution of agriculture. But the idea that fermentation can be treated as a paradigm for understanding place-based change is one steap ahead.

    The 28th episode of Ferment Radio explores how land use and management is related to the production and consumption of fermented beverages —a research area Colleen C. Myles calls “fermented landscapes.” That term functions as a metaphor for understanding landscape transformation and the co-evolution of humans, agriculture, and microbes.

    Together with Colleen C. Myles, Associate Professor at Texas State University, rural geographer, and political ecologist, let's zoom out, look for the sweet spot where micro and macro meets, and think how fermentation is intertwined with placemaking.

    • 41 min
    #27: The war on bugs (a conversation with Jessica Maccaro)

    #27: The war on bugs (a conversation with Jessica Maccaro)

    We use them all the time. Metaphors allow us to make sense of things we cannot comprehend. What metaphors do we commonly use to understand microbes? Bacteria are bugs, and we certainly are at war with them. Such a stand contributes greatly to our antagonistic relationship with microbes. But, can we revalue our relationship with microbes through metaphors? Could metaphors help us reconsider habits and economies related to our co-existing with bacteria, particularly something as serious as anti-microbial resistance? In this episode of Ferment Radio, we look for answers to these questions with Jessica Maccaro, a PhD candidate at the McFrederick Lab, University of California, Riverside, working with insects, fungi, and science communication.

    • 50 min
    #26: Recipe for controversial yogurt (with Cecilia Westbrook)

    #26: Recipe for controversial yogurt (with Cecilia Westbrook)

    In 2015, while in grad school, Cecilia Westbrook made yogurt out of her vaginal flora, as an experimental side-project. A journalist friend of hers wrote about it, and the article got published on Vice. It immediately went viral, spawning a number of copy-cat publications that re-edited the original text but never added more content, let alone created space for dialogue or reflection.
    This situation caused problems with her academic institution, since at the moment she was undergoing PhD studies, and triggered a landslide of misogynistic remarks towards her, many of which can still be found online. For these reasons, she had to refuse to comment on the harmless, yet (for some people) controversial yogurt.
    Now, 7 years after, Ferment Radio has the great pleasure to learn more about that particular yogurt,  and the avalanche it caused, directly from Cecilia Westbrook.

    • 45 min
    #25: Can we make fermentation less white? (with Miin Chan)

    #25: Can we make fermentation less white? (with Miin Chan)

    Last year, an article titled "Lost in the Brine!” was published on the Eater. The author, Miin Chan, aka Dr Chan, says what most people don’t want to admit: while the fermented foods industry evangelizes products rooted in global, often East Asian, traditions, its most visible faces are predominantly white.
    As a white host of a fermentation-related podcast myself, whose guests, so far, are predominantly white, I had felt the urge to comment on that issue already for a while. Reading this article assured me about the urgency of this topic, and that Miin is a perfect guest to share her views with us. 
    Miin Chan is a medical doctor, researcher, ferment activist, and food literacy advocate. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne researching the effects of fermented foods on chronic disease via the gut microbiota. Miin Chan’s research is scientific and evidence-based, and it aims to demystify some of the most overstated narratives about fermentation. She is also critical, from a scientific and diverse perspective, about how the food industry capitalizes on fermentation. In this episode of Ferment Radio, we will focus on this problem, and how the fermentation industry exists within a system that is inherently racist. 

    • 42 min

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