A multi-genre auto-fiction documentary about cabbage fermentation with elements of a political essay.
I, Kimchi is a story of a trio of friends, passionate home producers of the Korean fermented cabbage kimchi. The creators perform in it using their real names because the documentary essay on the border of three genres (Petra Hůlová: text, Petr Vrba: music, Jiří Havlíček: video) is a kind of auto-fiction. The fermentation of cabbage is for them not only everything that matters in their life, but also a "true reflection" of today's society. The story, with flashbacks to the years spent together when they were young, is a record of the emergence of a community that begins with gourmetism and ends with a vision of social order.
They use the changes at the bacterial level that occur during fermentation as a useful metaphor for the functioning of society. While we use the impossibility to self-regulate wildly proliferating bacteria that die after having exhausted the resources of their environment in the barrel as a parallel to our society, the interconnectedness of our body with our bacterial not-self opens up an important topic of symbiosis. The theme of fermentation in the Czech context has already been introduced in this interpretive way by the project Fermentation by Petr Vrba and Radim Labuda, which the new
production builds on and further develops.
The group works with artistic hyperbole, self-stylization, and irony. They combine absurdity and humour with the language of the internet, various manuals and cookery recipes. The tension of the textual part comes from the story itself, as well as from the contrasting use of diverse means of
expression and communication of music, image and a word.
Created and performed by: Petra Hůlová, Petr Vrba, Jiří Havlíček
Light design: Pavel Havrda
Dramaturgy cooperation: Johana Švarcová Ožvoldová
Premiere: 26. 9. 2022, Alfred ve dvoře, Prague
Jiří Havlíček is a visual artist and curator. He has made several short films – Film Týden (2016), Rekonstrukce (2018), Revue Kroky (2022) which have been screened at both domestic and international film festivals. He has also written the novella Teorie duchů (2018). As a teacher he works in the Text Form Function Studio at the Faculty of Arts in Ostrava.
Petra Hůlová is one of the most translated Czech authors and is a recipient of the most prestigious literary awards such as Magnesia Litera, Kniha Roku LN, Cena Jiřího Ortena, Cena Josefa Škvoreckého. She has written ten novels (e.g. Paměť mojí babičce (2002), Umělohmotný třípokoj (2006), Macocha (2014), Stručné dějiny Hnutí (2018), Zlodějka mýho táty (2019)). She is also a playwright, scriptwriter, one of the founders of the Writers Association and a creative writing teacher in Prague within the American SIT program.
Petr Vrba is one of the leading Czech musicians engaged in musical improvisation who regularly collaborates with foreign artists in this field as a performer, a workshop leader or a concert organizer. His discography includes over forty titles recorded with prestigious labels such as Another Timbre, Mikroton, Corvo et al. He has performed at festivals in Australia, Austria, France, Spain, Croatia, Germany, South Korea, Russia and many others. As far as domestic festivals are concerned we can mention Ostravské dny, Alternativa, Vs.Interpretation, Expozice nové hudby and others. He is a founder of several international ensembles in which he performs with the most prominent figures of the world free improvisation scene, such as Thomas Lehn, Franz Hautzinger, Xavier Charles, Axel Dörner, Birgit Ulher and others.
Petr Vrba's acousmatic composition for Czech Radio, Opus symbioticum, can be heard here.
Radim Labuda's article for Artalk, Micropolitics of lactic acid fermentation, can be read here.
The production of the performance was kindly supported by the City of Prague, Ministry of Culture, State Culture Fund of Czech republic and Prague 7 - Art District.