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(Archive) Réexister

The climate crisis is a geohistorical moment where pollution and sociocultural injustice are systematically linked.

This project was part of DDW 2023
Réexister by Buliash Todaeva — © Buliash Todaeva

The unity between the production of objects and food-making is linked to nomadic Kalmyk culture. It depends directly on the environment and the availability of resources. The applied research resulted in experimental objects based on cultural archetypes created from a nettle-based material.

The project is an extension of my activist practices and a reflection of my experience.

I decided to study the unity between the production of everyday objects and the preparation of food in the nomadic lifestyle because these processes were continually connected. In my project, it's important for me to consider nomadic culture as an existential experience in certain natural and historical contexts.
My project is a reflection on the experience of being Kalmyk and an exploration of the decolonization of my culture. The Kalmyks, or self-name Oirats, are a nomadic people whose way of life was subjugated by the policies of the USSR. Stalin's genocide in 1943-57, and the abrupt violent transition from a nomadic lifestyle to a sedentary one, turned cultural values into an aestheticized image without context or history. It also influenced the formation of the first anthropogenic desert on the European continent in the Republic of Kalmykia. By the 1990s, almost 80% of the territory of Kalmykia had undergone desertification, destroying biodiversity and the ecosystem due to mass collectivization policies.

The design produces the culture, and the culture produces the design.

I am not revitalizing the context, nor am I directly quoting the culture. I chose resources that can be found in any territory - organic waste - and created new forms of everyday objects. To demonstrate the connection, I used a traditional Kalmyk dough dish called bortsoki. And I molded both the food and the materials with the same molds, which are created from material based on nettle waste. It was important for me to pay attention to the molding of food and everyday objects, to their aesthetic and sacral connection, which has remained and is able to develop in the Kalmyk culture despite the losses of the past. I want to invite each of us to research and develop cultures by their bearers who are ready to revitalize their unique sociocultural experience.

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Réexister by Buliash Todaeva — © Charlotte Goffette

Réexister by Buliash Todaeva — © Fabrice Roure

Réexister by Buliash Todaeva — © Charlotte Goffette

Réexister by Buliash Todaeva