Discover Mugaritz

I + D

Exploring perpetuity; the fermented and the rotten.


“Culture is cultivation, but it is not an isolated act; it is, by definition, part of a cyclical, on-going course, passed from generation to generation” (Sandor Ellix Katz, The Art of Fermentation)

To cultivate is to desire the continuation of life, but there is no life without death. This is the great cycle, the circle where the end points meet.

It is where the realms of mushrooms, bacteria, yeasts and other microorganisms are found.  Invisible, intangible and omnipresent, their purpose is to break down and transform the matter that nourishes life. We have lived alongside them from time immemorial, and we are very much alike. We have given them the fruits of our labour: milk, fruit juice, and refined flour. We have perpetuated them, turning them into cheese-makers, wine-makers and bakers. They are, in a nutshell, micro-cultivators.


In return, these microorganisms have granted us the privilege of making fermented foods that have been passed down from generation to generation, perpetuating the taught and acquired flavours and aromas that transmit culture.


Life and death, beauty and decrepitude, the fermented and the rotten. These things have always been the same, living as they do at the end points of cycles that merge and overlap at the borders inhabited by invisible lives.


Our work with fermentation began in 2011, and in 2016 we created an experimental installation called The cheese table for Olatutalka Urbanzientzia, a celebration of science organized by Teknahi. This was one of the many cultural events held in honour of San Sebastian's year as the European Capital of Culture. 

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