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Alga #1 (Cochayuyo)

Shaped and dried cochayuyo

120 x 80 x 50 cm

 

2022


 

This seaweed has different names from different indigenous languages. It's called "cochayuyo" or "cochaguasca" in Quechua, which means "sea plant" or "sea rope" because it looks like ropes. In Mapudungun it's called "coyofe," and in some areas, the stem is called "ulte" "lunfo" or "lembo" and it's called "müngo" when it's old. It's believed that this seaweed has health benefits, like helping with digestion and providing nutrients. In the past, it was even used for teething babies to chew on. The Mapuche people used to get a dark brown dye from the stems to color their fabrics. There's currently an experimental gel made from cochayuyo that helps plant seeds grow in poor soil. It's also been used to grow grass on bare subsoil after roads are built.

 

For centuries, indigenous American communities have used this seaweed as a food source, and it's now part of Chilean cuisine. People collect it from the coast, dry it, and exchange it in packages because it's lightweight. There are many traditional Chilean dishes that include this seaweed, like stews, salads, cakes, and soups. Some people even make a jam out of it with fruit flavor. However, its popularity has decreased in recent years.

 

The contemporary culture of eating and using the cochayuyo is very far from normal. This work has the seaweed spell out the first lines of the wikipedia-article about it, translated to latin, to underline the alienation of this food-source, used for centuries. Now seemingly only scientist are able to understand it, and apply the benefits in their research, rather than the normal citizen, who could go on the beaches of Chile and gather enough of this rich and healthy food, enough for an entire year worth of free food.

 

The Latin reads: "Fucales Est Ordo Classis Phaeophyceae Aut Algarum Fuscarum" - (Eng: Fucales Is An Order Of The Class Phaeophyceae Or Brown Algae)

 

From Wikipedia

 

"The Fucales (fucoids) are an order in the brown algae (class Phaeophyceae). The list of families in the Fucales, as well as additional taxonomic information on algae, is publicly accessible at Algaebase.

 

The class Phaeophyceae is included within the division Heterokontophyta. This name comes from the Greek word phaios meaning "brown" and phyton meaning plant. They include some of the largest organisms in the sea, but some are small and fine in structure."

 

"Fucales est ordo classis phaeophyceae aut algarum fuscarum"

Day 1 of exhibition

After the exhibition