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Salt Traces

This research is a journey of four women who grew up on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Our idea is to start the research project with the Caspian Sea and create a community of artists and researchers with whom we could expand into exploring the impact of climate change on other water bodies through stories of food and people.

So far the Caspian Sea and communities around it have been interwoven with the narratives around oil. But climate change, decreasing levels of the sea, and extinction of sea species drew our attention to this sea with a new glance. There are many more stories to unravel about this unique water body, the largest lake on Earth.

The Caspian holds a significant value for the communities that live around it. A diverse range of cultural, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds, that these communities hold is reflected in their cuisine.

With this project, we aim to create a space for discussion and reflection on climate change and its impact on daily life through an exploration of food recipes, and daily eating habits. Food can

open up new venues for discussions around the underexplored topic of climate change and its impacts on the communities in the area. Through creating shared connections with food, we hope to also look at how the ingredients we use have altered as a result of climate change.

Growing up on the shores of the Caspian, we have mapped out some similar but also different patterns in our perception of the sea. The main commonality in our perception of the sea is that

looking at our childhood we would associate her with warm summer memories in which food would be central: we would go to the beach with watermelon and white cheese and enjoy delicious snacks after swimming. When away from the sea, we would get hyped when we would find out there is some caviar decorating lavish tables for weddings, which has now become a delicacy attainable only for a few. Unfortunately, growing up, our relationship with the Caspian has changed. With oil tankers annually dumping tons of pollutants into the water, the entry of waste from factories, the release of urban and rural wastewater, and other harmful human interventions have turned the Caspian into a water body that we exploit, bringing it into almost a state of collapse.

In the backdrop of all these thoughts a quote from Haitian-Canadian writer Dany Laferrière resonated very strongly with us: “The sea is the greatest living space on our planet, yet we turn our backs on it every day”.

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Salt Traces
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