Table of Contents
Rice bran beds known as NukaDoko, originating from Japanese fermentation culture, are complex systems that function based on interactions between microbes and humans.
When raw vegetables are put inside it, fermentative bacteria such as lactic-acid bacilli create nutritive and flavor components.
In order to sustain the fermentation, human hands must stir the rice bran bed on a daily basis.
This creates a cyclical structure where the resident bacteria from the human body migrate into the rice bran, and in turn, the bacteria from the rice bran bed enter the human body upon eating the pickled vegetables.
In this article, Chen considers a comparison between rice bran beds and human creative works, communication, and thought.
The Creative Commons License, whereby authors yield their works’ copyright to the web and encourage derivation, resembles tossing vegetables in a rice bran bed for the purpose of added value.
Furthermore, the interactions between users who follow SNS rules and users who deviate from them resembles the coexistence of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.
Moreover, Chen grasps human thought as a model of circular interactions between conscious recognition and unconscious emotion, and considers the long-term aging of ideas and thoughts.
Finally, Chen introduces “NukaBot,” a system for rice bran beds to monitor their own conditions and for humans to give feedback on their tastes.
While deepening a natural sciences-based understanding of fermentation, the system attempts to hypothesize and strengthen a co-evolutionary connection between humans and bacteria.
Through this implementation of a subjective relationship with bacteria, Chen considers the possibility of brewing a fermenting epistemology.