During the three days that our brave Cotton Candy experimentation team spent enclosed in a small room in Collegium Hungaricum Berlin, we learned quite a few things:

- Cotton candy is a challenging material to work with. The temperature has just high enough for the sugar to melt but low enough for the plastic candy machine itself not to melt. If one wants to use color effects, these need to be applied beforehand – once sugar is reached its fluffy and flying cotton candy form, it’s very difficult to apply any extra effects to it. Refilling the machines on the fly (when they are hot and rotating sugar at high speed) was also not a very easy thing to figure out.

- Cotton candy is great material for art about environmental issues – it’s made of pure white sugar that gives us pure solid energy to burn. Very efficient and very unhealthy. The sugar we bought in Germany said ‘Made in Germany’ in the package while it’s obvious that it has been grown by some low-wage workers in Africa or South-America. Eating cotton candy is also a ritual, a ceremony associated with places such as circuses or fun fairs -  places that have been designed for the kids to have fun and for the parents to… pretend to have fun?

- Compared to the English words cotton candy and candy floss, the Finnish and French equivalents ‘hattara’ and ‘barpapapa’ are more interesting and versatile. The word hattara can be applied to all kinds of fluffy things (clouds, hairdos, etc) and it has a connotation of superficiality. In addition to Barpapapa comic book characters, barpapapa also means ‘daddy’s beard’.

Some of the concrete results (see photos above) we achieved were the Cotton Candy Tornado (Aleksi Pihkanen was the main chef), Cotton Candy Crystals (by Christopher Baker) and the ‘redemption ritual’ (design by Tuomo Tammenpää). These were the side effects of the main purpose of the workshop: to bring an interesting bunch of people together to hack, chat and have fun for a few days. Thanks a lot for crew of Kitchen Budapest and Tinker.it for the good times and for Transmediale 09 for hosting us!

>> More thoughts + photos in Tuomo Tammenpää’s blog
>> More photos by Miska Knapek
>> Climate Hack wiki

(>> original posting on Pixelache09 blog)