Drawing from the psychotropic properties of these plants*, the Kaffeeklatsch Scheinpräparat (30 mL) can be used like a portable, imaginary mind garden where one can nourish ongoing fictions and their potential to re-articulate spaces and situations from everyday life. In German, Scheinpräparat means = placebo, a term that is associated with an alternative form of medicine that relies on the affective properties of mental visualizations. Kaffeeklatsch, on the other hand, when translated from German, means = social space / an informal space for discussion and contemplation that is activated through the consumption of coffee, where coffee is used as a sensorial stimulant for conversation. Drifting in-between the significance of these two terms, Kaffeeklatsch Scheinpräparat - is a drink that takes form both as a mental sculpture and as a herbal healing tonic. To administer, please stir one (1) drop of the Kaffeeklatsch Scheinpräparat tonic with a full glass of your choice of beverage.
Crafted by Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed, a local plant healer + researcher, this infusion is prepared from a selection of local invasive plant species which have infiltrated and in the process altered the ecological materialities of outdoor gay cruising spaces in Calgary. Invasive plant species are a type of plant that emerges on the landscape through interrelated processes of multi-species disturbance and entanglement. Often these plants are seen as an economic threat to the sustainability of local crop-production, and similar to the gay men who cruise for anonymous pleasure in spaces where their presence has to remain clandestine and un-perceptible - these plants also find room to grow, and infiltrate through the ruins of everyday urban interactions.**
* Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) tincture, Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) syrup, Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) apple cider vinegar, and blue spirulina powder
** For a free tasting, please drop by the new Kaffeeklatsch downtown location, opening this August @ 1205 1 ST SW. Ask the friendly barista from behind the counter, for a Scheinpräparat drink sample.
*** the price for the Kaffeeklatsch Scheinpräparat is the same as the price of entry to the local gay bathhouse. All proceeds from the sales of this artwork will be donated to CommunityWise who has generously made space for the Blue Light installation, currently residing in the same closet space where the original Kaffeeklatsch-cafe first started.
The research for this project was generously made possible with funding from Canada Council for the Arts.
Kaffeeklatsch Scheinpräparat is an outcome from a larger, and ongoing research initiative which has been organized locally by artist Bogdan Cheta in partnership with Mountain Standard Time Festival and the Calgary Queer Arts Society. A permanent on-site installation will be made public this Fall at CommunityWise Resource Centre in
Born and raised in Ploiești, Romania, Bogdan Cheta now lives and works in Calgary, Canada. Drifting between the surface of the printed page, the looseness of improvisable walks, or the meandering movements of large-scale installations, his projects usually gather in a search for how to use, and imagine the act of storying as an artisanal technology for place-making. He holds an MFA in Craft from Alberta University of the Arts (2019) and his research is oriented by an attention towards the atmospheric phenomenologies of lived spaces and their potential to re-activate alternative sites for political discourse and social engagement. Recent presentations of his work include projects at Balice Hertling in Paris, 67 Steps in Los Angles, the 12th Havana Biennial, and locally, at Stride Gallery, Untitled Arts Society, The New Gallery and TRUCK. With support from Canada Council for the Arts, this is Bogdan’s second presentation with M:ST, and his first joint collaboration with CommunityWise Resource Centre and the Calgary Queer Arts Society.
Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed is a herbalist, botanist, wild forager and educator. She is a former faculty member at Pacific Rim College in Victoria, BC and is qualified with an MSc in Herbal Medicine from London (UK), and a BSc in Botany from the University of Calgary. She is the founder of Latifa's Herbs which offers sliding-scale herbal medicine services, as well as workshops, presentations, and consulting regarding the use of edible and medicinal wild plant species. She is also co-owner of ALCLA Native Plants in Calgary, Alberta.