Åsa Sonjasdotter
Artist talk

The artist will talk about her artistic practice, especially projects that include cultivated plants like potatoes and grains. Her project The Order of Potatoes is an enquiry into potato varieties that have become restricted for commercial circulation within the EU. Most of these old and new varieties are bred by farmers for small-scale use. They are genetically too diverse to meet EU’s regulations on Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability, the so-called DUS criteria, which have to be met in order to qualify for unrestricted commercial use. In the project, the potatoes are presented together with a related story about the cultural and historical context in which the varieties were bred. Altogether, these marginalized varieties tell a story about how potatoes became regulated bodies. The survey ranges from 1587 (the earliest documentation of the potato in Europe after its introduction from the Americas) to 2010 (when farmer Karsten Ellenberg in Barum, Germany breeds new varieties for small-scale farmers, bypassing the industry’s need for DUS criteria).