Bootleg Garden


Mural commissioned by: Amarika, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

With the support of: HackFemEast Exhibition, Berlin; Rensselaer Polytechnic University, Electronic Arts department

“Bootleg Garden” is a research based art project that examines the impact of biotechnology on global food production and local markets, which is mostly used to make the produce cheaper. Changing the production value is mostly accessible to big corporations. The result is destruction of local markets, lowering biodiversity and delivering worse food to the customer.

I started this project in Bulgaria in 2008 after the acceptance of the country in the EU, when a rapid change in the quality of the food on our tables appear. . Bulgaria is well known agricultural country. But after it became a member of the EU, the fruits and the vegetables sold at local markets, including the ones traditional for the country, like tomatoes, cucumbers and celery, are imported from Turkey, Greece, Italy, Peru and Sweden. Very few of this production, especially in the big cities is local.
What did I do: I collected seeds from foreign fruits and vegetables sold at the Bulgarian chain-supermarkets. I planted these seeds, thus creating a peculiar “bootleg” of this foreign agricultural production. I tried to symbolically re-establish (revive) the more natural relationship between people and food, seeds, fruits and agriculture. In this relationship they are connected directly to each other, without mediation of big corporations and global markets.
The installation documents my activity, and consists of photographs, video and a mural. This display shows the new ecology of my house: my cats eat the “supermarket” garden!

Although started in Bulgaria in 2008, this project illuminates issues of the relationship between local and global food markets not only in Bulgaria, but elsewhere.