hotkarot

HotKarot & OpenSauce is an experimental food-hacking concept, created around the idea of veggie alternative to hotdog. The key element here is a cooked carrot stacked into a wholegrain bread roll, this combination being served with a collaboratively created data-based sauce, the so called OpenSauce. The sauce is always technologically mediated, taking an advantage of open source code and a collective power of online crowd. All ingredients of HotKarot & OpenSauce snack are approached as raw data and come from various datasets, such as texts, sounds, colors or even from biodata of living organisms. Cooking and mixing of our sauces then resemble interpretative process that inscribes the sampled data with new meanings. We have already cooked our sauces from tweets, facebook posts, wikipedia entries, our own or "borrowed" sound compositions, or even from bioelectric resistance of carrots. To find out how do emotions taste, we have also sauced various personal messages, biographies and life stories. Sometimes, we communicate through sauces even within our group, which enables us to share things that would otherwise remain unspoken. We thereby taste our techno-emotional cuisine on ourselves, just as each honest chef should do.

The cornerstone of our work is a presumption that anything can be turned into a sauce - even you. Although our approach to food may look like an absurd dada cuisine at the first glance, we prefer to use the term data cuisine instead. Sometimes, when the borderline suddenly starts to fade out, we simply keep cooking and wait to see what happens next.

The whole HotKarot & OpenSauce project is presented in many different forms: it's a street food stall, a nomadic kitchen-lab, a HCI interface, a hacktivist intervention, a staged performative piece. Following this strategy, we try to define the possible position of gastronomy within current technoculture, hence to expand discursive limits inscribed in the phenomenon of food consumption. Our idea is to merge the consumption of both food and technologies, and make that hybrid combination somehow beneficial - to you, to us and to the others. Food as well as technological gadgets have a potential to attract public attention. Through their combination we hope to create a playful, but also useful platform that should encourage public interaction. And there are many topics to discuss over the communal high-tech plate: from casual small talks to more serious social issues. Check for example the recent StreetSauce project, which we have created along with the Prague based homeless cooks from Homelike.

Sharing ideas over the carrot snack, swallowing each others stories, sending messages via taste buds - that's how we contribute to the creation of a "social stomach", a food-tech interface where savory interactions occur. (And in case you still don't get it - yes, HotKarot & OpenSauce really IS edible...).

To get clearer idea of what is it all about, check various HotKarot & OpenSauce projects.

opensauce

Opensauce is an open source recipe platform, which allows the HotKarot cravers to program the sauces according to their personal taste. However, the sauces can also be created directly out of them, of their personality. Biographies, personal stories, statements, opinions or messages; body measurements, heart rates... and basically any kind of biodata is sauceable. Actually almost any kind of numeric data can be used as a sauce ingredient: sound, color, electric resistance, description of artifact or situation, whatever. Everything that could be turned into a countable variable could also be turned into a sauce. That is the magic. Here is how it works: each color has its RGB number, and each ingredient in OpenSauce recipe book is assigned with a particular color. Each tone has its frequency, each word in a text may be assigned with a countable value. via textual analysis. Age, weight, height, body temperature or heartbeat are all expressed in numeric form. And as numbers are mutually transferable units, we can translate almost anything into... a sauce.

The way we think about food thereby enters entirely new level of complexity. We can use food as a more edible successor of graphs and charts in terms of data visualization, we can taste emotions, situations and life stories of ourselves, our friends or our Others. "If you don't know how to say it, say it with a sauce" is another option that comes to one's mind. We have already sent some wedding blessings, farewell letters or apologies to our friends via OpenSauce. Sometimes they tasted really bitter, sometimes they were sweet, but most of all - they were surprising. However, it's not just a funny social lubricant what OpenSauce embodies, and there are also more serious topics that can be articulated via the saucing interface. You can tell stories of people who are somehow disadvantaged and can't or don't want to speak for themselves. Via the OpenSauce coding, you can give them a voice in more accessible and entertaining way - just as we did within the StreetSauce project.

However, OpenSauce is a boundless playground for data cuisine experiments - if you have any idea what else should we do with it, just let us know.

More about OpenSauce features available in projects description.

projects

OpenSauce Zen

OpenSauce was originally conceived as an open recipe book created by means of users contribution: their own sauce ideas, as well as iterations of already existing recipes. Right from the beginning we were receiving the wildest combinations you can imagine (which wasn't such a big surprise, as our call to submit sauces that would match the "half digital, half tangible carrot hotdog" literally asked for that): beer-pumpkin-banana-chilli, plum-cabbage-beans-mustard, parsley-coconut milk-yoghurt-pear...and so we started an era of boundless OpenSauce mixology. After some time of messing around with blenders and growing piles of sticky dishes, we've realized that we're slowly transforming into a bunch of weirdos in stained t-shirts, with a fairly appreciable stock of food remnants under the nails. At that point, we recalled the fact the we are actually new media students, digital guys that are supposed to look fancy when sitting in a local hipster coffee with their polished macbooks on a table. Well, although that scenario honestly never became true, we simply decided to clean ourselves a little bit and started experimenting with data mixology instead. What kind of data would be usable for a sauce recipe? Definitely not just the textual inputs that we usually see in "normal" recipe books. That's how we started with our multi-sensory cuisine, based on colours, sounds and biodata recipes.

Our first step in this shift was OpenSauce Zen. We have simply inscribed each of the ingredients listed in OpenSauce recipe book with unique colour value (generated by means of relevant Google picture and dropper tool), thereby turning each sauce into a colourful mandala-like structure. Since that, each new recipe could have been created only by means of colour preferences: no "spinach", "radish" or "lemon" - just green, pink and yellow dots that can be drag and dropped into your virtual kitchenette. If the shade of green you have selected doesn't match spinach, but rucola or cilantro instead, we are sorry. Well, actually we are not -just forget the taste for a second, don't follow you stereotypical notions of a "tasty" meal and create a colourful combination that fits your current mood. What if your body finds this techno-emotional diet better than your brain would suggest? Wo knows, maybe you'll reach your personal state of gastronomical zen...

Hotkarot Sonification

Another step in our data-hacking have been sound-based recipes. Sound frequencies are numerical variables that can be easily translated into the colour frequencies, and those - if you are cooking in OpenSauce interface - into single sauce ingredients. Our first question was, what kind of sound should we actually use. We didn't find any good reason why to turn some third party songs into recipes...maybe we should have asked someone to sing for us and turned the tones into a sauce...well but we just haven't. Instead we realized that along with our OpenSauce data-hacks, we are somehow loosing our initial leading character - the hot carrot! So we decided to let the carrot enter the stage again and make her (yes, we think it's she) produce the sounds by herself. Here is how it works: carrot bioelectricity is measured by arduino kit, and then transferred into the computer via alligator clips attached to the carrot peeler. The peeler works as a connector here, closing the whole human-techno-veggie electric circuit: each peel gives you a stream of biodata that are subsequently translated into sound frequencies via pure data software: so as long as you keep peeling, you are producing a sound. But it doesn't end with this MaKey MaKey-like stuff (all due respect), as the sounds are then turned into the sauce, okay? It's more about SoundSaucing than "mere" veggie-music production - it's the convergence of sound and taste what plays the lead here. Call it technologically enhanced audial-gustatory synesthesia, if you wish.

The sonified carrot looks like that and this is how we practice in our studio.

Sonified sauces were presented for example at New Media Inspiration 2013 conference, where we had a live sonification performance and created a real-time NMI13 Sauce out of it.

Based on our newly gained reputation as musicians, we were also invited by the Lithuanian mantracore band Alaverdi, whose member are not Lithuanian at all, but asked us to join them on the stage during their concert at Cross Club. We accompanied them with our carrot noise, and generated a special Lithuania Sauce.

HotKarot Riot

HotKarot Riot is a performative project based on a convergence of HotKarot Sonification and OpenSauce Zen features. This time, we give the carrot even louder voice, and let her express her disguise with her consumers. As it happens very often that the passing-by carnivores are just so mean to our carrots (we can't even recall how many times we have already heard something like "Can I have a hotdog please? This is disgusting!"), we decided to give her a fair chance to react. That's why we started to measure her bioelectric resistance via our sonification kit. The ohm value measured is translated into the colour frequencies and then, again, into the sauce. The carrot resistance thereby pervades not only the passers-by ears, but - in case they agree to give it a try after all - their stomachs as well.

We even think of the HotKarot Riot project as an apt embodiment of the posthumanist anti-anthropocentric ethos. The denial of human as a supreme being is pretty distinct in there, as the carrot actually controls the whole process: not only she takes over the chef's role and decides which sauce she wants to be consumed with, she also injects the seeds of her disruptive thoughts right under the eaters skin, directly into their stomachs. The partaking human beings are therefore involved only as mere puppet-like agents - peeling, listening to the computer generated carrot-sound, watching the algorithm converting it into the sauce and then cooking it obediently. And then, of course, swallowing the carrot's resistant speech per se. So..behold, listen and swallow the carrot anger!...or don't take it so dramatic and just have fun while watching the whole carrot-controlled theater going on...

The HotKarot Riot has been first performed at Enter festival, with the Enter Sauce as outcome. Full sound capture from the live performance is available here.

We also made some carrot riots at the Tranzit Display gallery and here is a short capture from the show we gave at Babel Camp Brno. It tasted like that.

And we even went to an international tour to Slovakia with the HotKarot Riot project, as we were invited to show some carrot resistance at Multiplace festival. The Multiplace Sauce tasted good.

StorySauces

StorySauces refer to a set of sub-projects that utilize a network text analysis technique to cook sauces out of stories, tales, messages, greetings, farewell letters, biographies... and simply all kind of narratives. The StorySauce concepts develops on the notion of arbitrary data cuisine, while preparing recipes out of ingredients that doesn't have any semantic connection to food again. On the other hand, it is also a step back from the mean anti-anthropocentric stance that we maintain e.g. within the HotKarot Riot project, as the sauces created from peoples stories, or even from their biographies, involve the human presence as a core factor. The notion of sauce personalization is thereby brought one level further. The whole idea of StorySauces came out along with the Eat Your Tweet project.

Eat Your Tweet was originally conceived for the sake of BigClean conference Prague, which was focused on the recycling of public sector data into an open data. We were invited to feed the conference attendees in whichever way we want (preferably with some hot carrots and sauce of course) and accepted this fair and generously open assignment quite happily. Right from the beginning it was pretty obvious to us that those data-guys probably wouldn't be hungry for some techno-emotional snack made from colours or sounds. After some time of heavy contemplation, it occurred to us those kinds of conferences are usually eagerly promoted on twitter, and the participants are diligent to fill their twitter streams with fresh news from the lecture hall, as well as gossips overheard near the coffee machine. And that's a nice source of data! So, to put it short, we decided to cook the OpenSauce from all tweets that would be produced under the unique conference hashtag #bigcleancz, and let the participants to literally swallow their words back. We called that Eat Your Tweet.

It worked like that: we were sampling the tweets for some time before the conference started and during the event's morning, then we compiled them into one text and performed a network text analysis that resulted in an extraction of six final sauce ingredients. To make this happen, we used a text visualisation technique that permitted us to browse through a content of a given text corpus, and extracted single text units (words) based on their mutual relations (words' proximity). By folding the linear text into a network of interconnected words, this technique provided an alternative view on the text and enabled us to translate it into a sauce. We basically visualised normalized textual data as a network graph of a sauce recipe, where each node represented a single ingredient. The translation of the node into the unique ingredient was performed through mapping of the graph onto the colour spectrum wheel, where each node assumed a certain position defined by particular colour frequency. Going back to our OpenSauce recipe feature, where each colour frequency matches a particular ingredient, we were finally able to translate the whole graph into a sauce. The ultimate #bigcleancz tweet recipe was born. Najs, right?

Although we created the recipe out of usual textual input at that time, the idea of arbitrary data cuisine was basically included again, as the source text of the recipe didn't include any information about food at all (ok, it actually did, as some of the participants who were aware of our experiment posted tweets like: "cheese, I want a cheese in the sauce!" or "pepper pepper add pepper"..which was obviously biased, as the proximity-based text analysis doesn't take the contextual semantic meaning into an account). Another funny part of the Eat Your Tweet concept was that everyone who was tweeting, automatically became a part of the collaborative recipe creation - no matter if they wanted or not. Cooking basically became a byproduct of other daily activity there.

Ok, this is quite a long description, let's just put it simple: Eat Your Tweet is based on the idea that you are what you eat, you are what you tweet, and... you eat what you tweet.

Btw. here is how it looked like at the Big Clean event. Here you can even try to make a tweet-sauce on your own.

Another kind of StorySauces are for example those Bucharest Sauces, which we created for the occasion of Street Delivery festival 2014, where we were invited by Czech Centre Bucharest. There are three kinds of Bucharest Sauces: before we came to Romania, we asked our Czech friends to write down some messages for the Bucharest locals, we brought those tidings all the way along with us, and than turned them into the OpenSauces on our Street Delivery stall. The nature of those Czech→Romanian messages varied greatly: Sorin encouraged Romanians to wake up, Eliska just wanted to tell them that they are simply great, Honza described a dream he had that may had been about them, Bara and Jan recommended to cultivate their land and Tereza with Lubomir shared a story about a Romanian shepherd they met a long time ago.

The second part of Bucharest Sauce mixology began at the Strada Arthur Verona, the main Street Delivery venue. We offered the visitors to taste the messages from our fellow Czech countrymen, but we wanted to get something in return. And so we asked the Bucharest locals to send their messages to Czech people in exchange...and they did! We got for example a note from Amina, or from Bruno & Quido, our brave companions who were helping us at the stall all the time throughout the festival. With Bucharest Sauces, we simply took on the role of high-tech carrier-pigeons , and developed an intercultural food-networking exchange.

Here are some captures from the Street.

During our stay in Romania, we also spent a few days traveling around the country, gathering our very own impressions of local landscape, culture and habits. We then wrote those remarks down and generated a special edition of sauces out of them. Our eventual goal was to make a truly "local" OpenSauce cookbook (and sell it and become insanely rich), but the Universal wheel of fortune meant it otherwise: during our track along the black sea cost, some supposedly keen sauce lover stole us all the notes we had so far sampled, along with all our other stuff. So we just remained naked on the sea cost. Soon after, though, we realized that it was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to us. Nakedness gets people closer. Not only we got to know each other from a very new point of view, we also developed a deep - and literally corporeal - relationship with the East Romanian countryside: we hitchhiked all the way back to Bucharest, slept at the grasslands, shared our food with local "wild" dogs, walked to the orthodox and catholic churches for water, took a rest in Mangalia mosk, and got terribly sunburned. So after all, we eventually managed to sample a fair amount of ingredients for the cookbook.

Coming soon!

The set of Eschatology Sauces is probably the thorniest meal we have cooked so far. Those Story Sauces are generated out of fairly sensitive stories (or rather histories), namely from eschatological "end of the world" prophecies predicted by five world religions. This concept was conceived for Academy of Sciences Prague Library that invited us for their conference entitled "Nightmares of humankind". It was quite exciting to watch what will come out and how would the eventual recipes associate with our stereotypical notions related to each religion. Within the conference event, we cooked all five Eschatology Sauces and let the audience to decide about the taste. Findings? The Christ Sauce made of parsley, spinach, avocado, provencal herbs and green pepper has a bitter echo. The Buddha Sauce is mild and unassertive, while the Moses Sauce is rich and saturating, as it contains a lot of Hokkaido pumpkin. The Vishnu Sauce would be a great snack for kids, with white beans, chickpeas, parmesan cheese, lime juice and a slice of banana included in the recipe. Quite contrary, the Muhammad Sauce is rather for strong stomachs, as it has some red beans, chili and plenty of red wine (!). Few brave spectators from the audience even offered their stomachs as a "communication interface", ordering a HotKarot with mixed sauce. A true gastro-courage, as well as highly political gesture. According to the first reactions, we can say that the Muhammad-Christ Sauce mix was a truly controversial meal.

Some pictures from the Eschatology Sauce serving are available here.

For some of us, MaTeria Sauce is definitely the most personal that we have ever created, as it remains eternally and indelibly inscribed onto our surface. The "us" in this case refers to Marketa and Tereza, the feminine part of the Cancel group.

One day in 2013 those two started to publicly perform as one, and became MaTerie Cancel - a female patchwork persona created out of two original human units. The MaTeria Sauce has been created out of the story of this conception, which was written down by MaTeria herself, and spiced up by small disruptive interventions of the Cancel boys. The graph of the sauce recipe was then tattooed on MaTeria's left forearms. This was done by Filipko the tattooer, MaTeria's friend who used to occasionally live with her (and other unspecified number of people) in one Prague apartment located at the edge of urban jungle.

So far, MaTeria can report that it's actually pretty convenient to have a recipe along with you wherever you go. It provides a comforting sense of belongingness anywhere and anytime you appear to be within the global space-time latitudes. Plus, you no longer need to introduce yourself tediously, as you can just cook your sauce and let your new peers to taste it. Although it feels good to be probably the only human being on the Earth surface with a sauce tattooed on a hand, we propose the option as open for anyone else interested. If you desire to have your own recipe imprinted on yourself, send us your story, we will make a sauce for you and ask Filipko to book a slot at his tattoo table.

StreetSauce is a collaborative project we've conceived together with a non-profit organization Homelike that provides social assistance to homeless women and offers them an opportunity to work as chefs at a mobile street-food stall. At their street-food bistro, those female cooks serve simple donation-based vegetarian menus, which have recently been enriched with our signature HotKarot & OpenSauce snack. We have listened carefully to each cook telling her life story, wrote it down and then made a sauce out of that. So each cook now has her own, highly personalized sauce that she can share on the street - where her home is. That's the story of Street Sauce in a nutshell. And how does the life on street taste like? Well, it can be bitter, sweet, spicy, mild... there is no universal flavour. So rather come and try it on your own. And in case you're not sure, which taste do you actually feel, ask the cooks themselves. Maybe you'll learn something new.

More about Street Sauce project available at www.streetsauce.cz.

Other StorySauces

Shaun and Mike Sauces are made out of life stories of two happy animals - Shaun the lamb and Mike the chicken - that were (happily) breed at Malaysian organic farms. The sauce was served at a special SecretCooksClub lunch together with the meat, topping the (happily) dead animals with a bittersweet reminiscence of the life finiteness. Mike's life tasted like that, Shaun Sauce was a very positive recipe as well

UrbanPangea Sauce is created out of the curatorial text for the Urban Pangea exhibition that we took part in. We fed the audience and other partaking artists with HotKarot topped with the Sauce.

Prace Sauce is created out of the curatorial text for the exhibition Prace ("Work"), which we attended with our StreetSauce concept.

1Year Sauce was conceived as a farewell note for Marketa's colleagues, when she (close to tears) quitted her job and left the country.

MaterialTimes Sauces, namely the Emtean Sauce and Emtehel Sauce, are based on articles about new design materials published in MaTerial Times, a magazine where Tereza works as a chief editor.

Diary Sauces is a series of five sauce recipes created by Cancel group for Marketa, one of the group's members who was about to leave to Singapore for five long years. The five remaining Cancellers wrote down a one year prediction of her future, which together constituted a nice Open Sauce diary that will accompany (and scare) her for the whole journey. At the end of each year, Marketa will cook and eat the matching sauce and undertake an annual contemplation of what has happened and how has it tasted so far.
The complete calendar is available here:

Wedding Sauces were conceived as a wedding gift for our friends. Bernardyn & Kobliha Sauce was created out of a "how they met" story of the newlyweds, while Svatebni Sauce out of our blessings for the happy couple.

Dr. Gab & Dr. Jas Sauce is made out of negotiations about a menu for one late night dinner, where the Sauce was eventually served as a dessert.

Prazak Sauce is made out of biography of Josef Prazak, our friend and one of the most prospective young physicians of our times.

PourPavla Sauce is a story shared by Pavla, who wanted to say something about love that always deserves to get the second chance.

The concept of Commensality Sauce was created in order to consolidate the notion of Singaporean national identity, an assignment proposed by Fassforward research competition at NUS. At first, we prepared a salad made out of ingredients matching the ethnical population mix of Singapore: it had 74% of cabbage for Chinese people, 14% of tomatoes for Malay, 9% of yellow peppers for Indians and 3% of nuts, raisins and seeds for the "Other" category. This demographical dish symbolized the notion of national identity taken from the Conflict theory perspective: single ingredients of the salad remained separate and detached from each other in order to maintain their individual identity. To make the salad dish more edible, we proposed to top it with Commensality Sauce, a sauce mix made out of the same ingredients. This edible design prototype was supposed to symbolize an interactionist-like solution to national identity tensions: the individual identity of single salad ingredients was maintained, but the sauce pervaded their surface and connected the whole salad bowl with a common flavour. Yeah. It was fun.

EatCookGrow Sauce is made out of the editorial text to food design bible Eat Cook Grow : Mixing Human-Computer Interactions with Human-Food Interactions, written by editors Jaz Choi, Marcus Forth and Gregory N. Hearn.