Speculative design research concerning human behavior of individuals and “glocal” and “phygital” communities. Fermentation was selected as a case study, researching all its aspects: culture, history, agriculture, seasonality, locality, methods, social relationships, social media, access to information and mastering a skill. Research methods included global trends review, in-depth theoretical research, ethnographic research, anthropological field research within cookbooks and Instagram, visual analysis in Instagram, interviews and surveys, hands-on experimentation, and mapping the knowledge body into categories. Research findings show the importance of a local community surrounding a tradition and common values, concepts that have taken on new meaning these days. Today, the concept of place is shifting between its physical and symbolic digital existence. Knowledge about tradition is archived and managed by powerful elites. Traditions and trends spread by agents of preservation of knowledge, who take advantage of digital media. As people move away from food preparation and rely on processed food, the vast knowledge and traditions of food making are disappearing. The Dill Pickle Club reconstructs the “recipe”, redefining it as a method of preservation of knowledge and tradition. The fermentation jar preserves food both literally and symbolically: biological and technological knowledge, local culture and the community that emerges around all these. In order to do so, an XR interface is used, with physical reality enhanced by digital layers of information and cultural heritage. Depth and context are made available by negotiating time and space in the digital world, exposing personal connections and communal networks.
The research project was conducted during 2020-2021, reflecting on the changes and trends emerging in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently Facebook announced Meta, a declaration which implies their intention to focus on augmented reality and XR interfaces, extending its digital claws further into our physical life. Thus, the need for a local-digital community is stronger than ever, one that will continue respecting cultural diversity and provide access to in-depth knowledge.