What about food and VR technologies?

During PIFcamp 2023, Sophia Bulgakova is planning to experiment with food and various augmentation of reality using XR technologies and analogue tools of sensory deprivation while dining.

She wants to conduct testing & tasting sessions together with other participants exploring their relationship with various sensory stimulants with a focus on food and dining as a communal ritual. How can a change in visual perception affect the taste of certain foods? Can physical togetherness be achieved at a distance? How our taste buds be tricked by the stimulation of other senses? These experimentations will be a part of her collaborative, ongoing umbrella project, Metaphysical Tastings, which Sophia is working on together with Leonardo Scarin & Cemre Deniz Kara.

Sophia will also continue her experimentations with the analogue/digital VJ set-up she is developing and work on arranging jam and play sessions with other participants of this year’s program.

Food & Ecosystems: Nourishing Connections through Nature

Fransisca Tan is an Austrian food experience designer with a diverse background in cognitive sciences, communication, gastronomy, and media technology. With a deep-rooted passion for exploring and curating transformative human experiences, Fransisca uses the multisensory power of food as her canvas. As an artist, creative producer, and international project manager, she endeavors to foster connections among individuals from diverse backgrounds, unveiling the profound significance of community and compassion. 

In her project for PIFcamp, all participants are invited to collaborate and embark on a collective exploration. Together, they may delve into the fascinating questions such as: How does food and our environment shape our interactions?  What does the future (of food) smell, taste and feel like to our touch – engaging all our senses? The beautiful surroundings of Soča valley will partake in this explorative journey by feeding inspirations on ecosystem thinking. 

During the event, participants can look forward to engaging talks challenging concepts such as food waste and nature, hacking rituals & cultural practices surrounding food, and workshops on sensory exploration that venture beyond traditional culinary boundaries. 

Join Fransisca and fellow participants at PIFcamp as they unlock the mysteries of our relationship with food, each other and the natural world, and collectively envision a future that tantalizes not just our taste buds but all our senses.


Since PIFcamp initially started in 2015, its embeddedness in the natural habitat of the Alpine region already indicated that the eating habits of technology motivated participants will be (re)defined by the surrounding environment. This happened gradually and without any specific all-encompassing plan.  Through this time and process a concept of PIFood fermented from related sediments and now calls for a distillation into new forms. As such, PIFood encompasses practices, experiments, explorations and observations related to all-things-food at PIFcamp. In previous years these manifested as PIFdinner, PIForgaging and PIFerment.

In 2019 we set out to search for a common holistic approach through observing and understanding our relation towards food. We plan to do this with two, for now mostly separated subsections: PIFoodKitch and PIFoodLab. In the future the idea is to see both of them intertwine into a self-sufficient concept of PIFood. This year we will emphasize PIFoodLab, focusing on hacking the surrounding habitat with edible plants for later usage in fermentation processes. Find some concrete ideas bellow that call for further dialogue.

PIFood 2019

Foraging & mapping

Edible plants from the surrounding area will be mapped to enable the participants to conduct foraging trips when wanted. Participants are encouraged to propose and help out with choosing the appropriate tools and help with the mapping with our plant expert Dario.

Syrup making

Syrups for second fermentation stages will be prepared from regional edible plants gathered by foraging expeditions. Bring your grandma’s recipes and techniques, let us know your needs and let’s find the tangiest one. 

Coffee and tea tastings

Participants can bring their own selected coffees and teas for tastings and as the basis for kombucha and water kefir fermentation. Basic equipment for preparing different styles will be available: chemex, aeropress, water boiler, coffee grinder, tea kettle. An additional idea is to make a kit for cold-drip (PIFdrip) and/or cold-brew (PIFbrew) coffee.

Kombucha and water kefir ferments

We will organise a workshop on how to prepare different tea and coffee kombucha ferments in the beginning of the week to be ready by the end of the week, while tasting previously made brews during the week. Water kefir ferments will be made on a regular basis as they need less time.

PIFermet cocktail = PIFcock

All the above ferment experiments will be used for an experiential cocktail tasting with the goal to find the cockiest fermet combination of them all, the PIFcock.

Kimchi and other vegetable ferments

We start with the question how to make kimchi variations only using local ingredients, asking thus larger geo-historical questions, such as what do kimchi and sauerkraut have in common and what its popular connotations mean for preserving local traditions.

Sourdough ferments

The idea is to exchange knowledge on how to bake bread and other sourdough ferments outside, without kitchen appliances and ovens using wood and charcoal. And finally also try out some of them, if possible. Participants are encouraged to bring their own sourdough starter.

Participation & Documentation

These are some ideas within a larger framework that can be worked on within the PIFood concept, and of course other suggestions are encouraged and more than welcome.

The final idea for this year is to compile a PIFood compendium/manual that future editions and participants can contribute to and build upon.

Coordination of PIFood activities will be supervised by Ahac (ahac@drmr.si), who can also be contacted in advance regarding additional requirements and/or questions. 

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PIFood preincarnations and undergrowths

Fermenting with wild plants

Our wild herb food expert Dario Cortese and Kristijan Tkalec from BioTehna Lab will test old and new ways of fermentation from East and West Asia.

They have set two goals:

They will produce traditional fermented food like tempeh, water & milk kefir, and kimchi. These will head to the kitchen/table and become part of the PIFcamp menu.

The second part of fermenting work will take place in the form of daily workshops – foraging for herbs and test unpredictable combinations. Can we make nettle tempeh? How many participants dare to try the natto? How does the morning kefir prepared with wild yeast taste like? What is the taste of pancakes made of the naturally acidified batter?

The plan:
Setting the incubators -> foraging for wild herbs -> fermenting -> tasting -> foraging -> foraging -> fermenting -> tasting -> foraging -> foraging -> fermenting -> tasting

PIFrecipes by Dario Cortese

Carrot salad with wild herbs 1.0

Grate the carrots and put them in a salad bowl. Add pumpkin oil, vinegar and dry-roasted sesame seeds. Then add some yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and mugwort (common wormwood, Artemisia vulgaris) flowers with some finely cut leaves of both plants. The more flowers and leaves you add, the stronger will these aromatics flavor the salad, so do not add to much, as they are truly aromatic. Decorate the salad with the flowers of annual plant fleabane (Erigeron annuus), which have a slightly pepperish taste. Mix and, yes, that’s it. Enjoy!
You may add salt too, but at least taste the salad without it first.

Carrot salad with wild herbs 1.1

Prepare the carrots and add pumpkin oil, vinegar and roasted sesame seeds, just like in 1.0. Then add unripe fruits of one big inflorescence of wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris) per salad bowl. Mix and enjoy.

Tomato salad with raw nettle sauce & wild carrot

Put some olive oil and vinegar in a big bowl, cut three or four tomatoes, put them into the bowl and add quite a big bunch of nettle shoots (Urtica dioica) and/or young leaves. Three or more pinches of chopped wild carrot leaves (Daucus carota) won’t hurt. Salt a bit more than usually, as this works as the sauce aka some kind of nettle gazpacho for the tomatoes.
Mix in a blender until you get something like a semi thick liquid sauce.
Cut more tomatoes and put them in an appropriate salad bowl. Pour the nettle-gazpacho-sauce over them and add a bowl or two of wild carrot flowers without their stems. Mix with a spoon and let it sit for a while so aromas develop. Decorate with wild carrot flower(s) and if there is some wild garlic around put its flowers and flower bulbs on top.

Ice matea with burnet

Put 3 tablespoons of yerba mate in 2 liters of cold water and stir. Crush a bunch of burnet (Sanguisorba minor) leaves slightly with your hands and add them to the cold infusion. Leave it to stand for at least a couple of hours or overnight. Then strain it, chill it or add ice cubes and taste the wild ice matea. The aroma of burnet leaves is not that far away from melons and cucumbers. And yes, the taste of mate is also very present.

Fresh cheese spread/dip with calamint

Combine one kilogram of fresh cheese, e.g. cottage cheese, with half a kilogram of sour cream. Add a handful of finely chopped calamint (Calamintha brauneana or any other Calamintha species) leaves and flowers, some olive oil and salt. Mix well and let it stand for a while, preferably for a few hours or overnight. Serve as a spread on bread, as a dip with chunks of raw vegetables, with cooked potatoes, as an addition to salads etc.

Nettle chips

Collect as much nettle (Urtica dioica) tops as you can. The flower buds with older leaves are also excellent. Collect them just before they start to flower and trim their tough stem away.
Heat some oil (e.g. coconut oil), lard or ghee in a pan and fry the nettles for a short while; around a minute is usually enough. Take the nettles out as soon as they become crunchy and the fat stops foaming. The aim is to keep them (dark) green; if they are turning brown, it is really high time to take them out. Sprinkle with salt, mix lightly and enjoy.

Roseroot pifmethamine

Collect 20 roseroot (Rhodiola rosea) stalks and trim off the leaves. Put them in a blender, add a liter of apple/pear brandy or vodka and blend well. Leave the mixture standing for a while, so the crushed leaves settle on the bottom of the container. Then pour off the liquid and store it in a closed bottle. Drinking 30 to 60 milliliters of the concoction has a nice and invigorating effect. Do not throw the crushed leaves away, but use one or two teaspoons as an addition to any tea.


Want to know more about the plants mentioned here and their uses? Check them out on the internet. Wikipedia is a quite nice basic informative source. The easiest way to be sure you are reading about the right plant is to type in their Latin name.

Bio-fermented Mate Drinks

“Materva” has become a symbol of Cuban diaspora and nostalgia of pre-Castro Cuba, “Club Mate” is the preferred and signature drink of most post-Fordist alternative engineering cultures (a.k.a hackers), and “Nativa” became a known Coca-Cola market flop in Argentina. What unites those three drinks is the idea of carbonating the famous mate tea into energizing soda pops, or gasiosas de mate.

This project by Rosen Ivanov comes from his passion for ilex paraguariensis, or yerba mate, and its fascinating social history and traditional uses. After working on a soda-pop from yerba mate in the local Barcelona biohackerspace, Rosen decided to try various methods of natural carbonation for brewing traditional tea fizzy drinks.

On the first days of the camp, he invites you to experiment with him on different ways of using fermentation’s CO2 for making sodas-pops. He’s intending to try the following cultures, but any other methods we can work with are highly appreciated: ginger bug, whey, water kefir and kombucha.

Hack your own food!

So, we are told the best food grows on the shelves of superhiperultramega markets. And that eco/bio/organic is the best? Well, here’s the rest of the truth: we are literally surrounded by nutritionally very well rounded wild edibles, which can be prepared in any culinary way. But the rule is that the simplest is the best! This time we will leave cockroaches, larvae and other bugs behind (they are more or less edible by the way) and will concentrate on wild vegetables and herbs.

The aim of the node is to get closer to the plants, edible or not (all of the poisonous ones are very medicinal indeed, but there is a thin line between their medicinal and poisonous effect).

And, yes, did anybody mention Fly Agaric and Belladona? Some connections with the quite recent use of these Old World shamanic psychoactives in the region not that far away from the PIFcamp base will be mentioned, too.

The node is led (or at least he tries do it (t)his way) by Dario Cortese, an agricultural dissident and a proud dog pack leader. In his spare time he even wrote a few books on the subject.

HCK YR FD with Dario Cortese!


To delve deep into nutritional science is to go out into the wild. Barely for two or three millennia, more precisely in a mere century, we are producing, growing and breeding too much of everything, and the trend hasn’t yet reached its peak. If we take a good look at all of the IT possibilities of development… they are so plentiful, they are practically devouring themselves. So, in order not to starve at the table full of goodies, it is wise to step out. Or, as Douglas Adams would have it: Please, step out! This is the invitation with which we shall greet you at the start of this year’s PIFadventure.

Joining Please, step out! means you will be present on food-hacking trips around Soča village, where we will be gathering edible wild vegetables, wild herbs, wild fruits, and preparing them in simple, but for some probably extraordinary ways. These wild food hikes will also represent a gateway to the nutritional, historical, economical and other perspectives in connection with (wild)food, and by the time PIFcamp is over, you will have a pretty good picture of what is food and what is not. And you might as well know now: the majority of what we consider to be food is not.

Please, step out! is held by Dario Cortese, an independent wild food researcher and author of several books on wild food and nutrition.