Kombucha papers is a research project interdisciplinary artist Asli Hatipoglu started during her residency at Jan Van Eyck Academie 2020-2021. She explores the different conditions that apply in the formation of the Kombucha scoby and relate its poetic transformation to other relationships as well. Changing conditions include temperature changes as well as different tap water, different tea and sugar sources and different depth of liquid exposure. During these explorations, other nuanced relationships take place; one can build a different relation to one's self through mirroring internal conflicts/awareness in the transformation of the scoby by partaking in a caring relationship in the growth. Another relationship one can build is the connection between gut-microbiome and psyche/mental health; observation allows a fantastical imagination to this relationship of what goes in and how our thinking process is shaped by it. The artist uses the outcome material to imprint her internal process by type-writing on the Kombucha papers or printing letters using photo-polymer plates.
10 litres of tea is made with 10 grams of green tea and 1 kg of sugar. This proportion can change according to necessity. Tea can be made either 3 mins of dipping in 80 degrees water or soaking in room temperature water overnight mixed with sugar syrup. Scoby or back-slopping kombucha liquid is applied with a ratio of 1:5, meaning for 10 litres of tea 2 litres of kombucha back-slopping is added. The liquid ideally is poured into a container with a larger surface area for being in contact with air. A piece of cloth is covered over the container to keep the flies away from contamination. The growth of the skin depends on the temperature of the room and it can take up to 30 days to build a consistent layer.
The forming new scoby can be extracted after enough thickness is reached (ideally about minimum 1 cm thick) and washed under clean tap water and left on a piece of wood to dry over 3-4 days. Its peeled off from the wood afterwards. Different applications can take place on the paper afterwards, such as printing with photo-polymer plate, painting with ink or typewriting using a typewriter.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Green tea, sugar, scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), ink.
Jan van Eyck Academie, CUPP collective, Stichting Stokroos, Thami Mnyele Foundation