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Little Interview for Glucksman Gallery 2116

July 22, 2016

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We just did a little interview for the Glucksman Gallery, because we exhibited in their 2116: FORECAST OF THE NEXT CENTURY show.  

Q: What are you reading? 

UNDERMINING by Lucy R. Leppard

— Unruly Edges: Mushrooms as Companion Species (.pdf) by Ann Tsing

— Manifesto on Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation by Laboria Cuboniks

FROM COUNTERCULTURE TO CYBERCULTURE by Fred Turner

Q: Favourite museum? 

Center for PostNatural History in Pittsburgh, USA or the Butter Museum in Cork, Ireland

Q: Best performance? 

Pony Dance at the 10th Annual Dublin Dance Festival (2014)

Q: What is your most treasured possession? 

Naive optimism. 

Q: What work(s) of art inspire you? 

The Center for Land Use Interpretation

The Environmental Health Clinic

The Yes Men

The Edinburgh Food Studio

Q: A lightbulb moment? 

The (mostly) invisible world underground and undersea is as amazing and diverse as the world we inhabit on land. The lightbulb went off realizing that every tree has a root structure somewhat as large as the tree. 

Q: Guilty pleasure?

Nacho cheese doritos and crime / spy TV shows. 

Q: What would you like to be doing right now? 

Feeding our friends and family.

A FOOD FORECAST: MICROBIOTOURS & FOOD PHREAKING 03

May 23, 2016

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Friday-Sunday (27–29 May), 11:00-16:00 come to FOOD FORECAST: 

MICROBIOTOURS & FOOD PHREAKING at the Rowett Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland. 

FOOD FORECAST consists of a free walking tour and exhibition by the artist group the Center for Genomic Gastronomy. It has been developed through an Artist in Residence, at the Rowett Institute for Nutrition and Health and supported by the Leverhulme Trust. During their residency at the Rowett over the last year, the Center has focused on emerging research about the human gut microbiota. 

1. WALKING TOUR

MICROBIOTOURS: Exploring the Secret Ecologies & Bacterial Subcultures of the Future

Join this free, drop-in, walking tour of the Rowett campus set in the year 2036. Each stop on the tour highlights microbiota research, imagining how it might reshape our daily lives and habits over the next two decades. 

Debates over the relationship between human health, food, science and culture have made microbiota research one of the most vibrant and contested areas of inquiry in the life sciences. Microbial interactions are notoriously complex, but there are also great pressures to create profitable products and therapies. 

This has lead to cycles of hype, skepticism and self-experimentation. This tour explores future fantasies from Paleo Gut Gardening to a Microbiome Pick-n-Mix, and asks you, the tour-goer, to discuss and consider what kind of microbial future you want and desire.

2. EXHIBITION

Preview copies of a new issue of the publication Food Phreaking will also be on display. Issue 03 focuses on the human manipulation of gut microbiota.

DATA DINERS (Recombinatorial Cuisine)

May 20, 2016

 


Our industrial food system isn’t working. Many food start-ups and academic research projects are promising innovations that will lead to ecological, economic and social sustainability in the food sector. Unfortunately, many of these so-called innovations perpetuate the industrial approach to agriculture and food that got us into trouble in the first place. Commercial food innovation is often disconnected from variations in local eco-systems and regional cultures. The emphasis is still on making food as efficient as possible instead of making food systems biodiverse, just, beautiful and resilient. We need better criteria for assessing innovations within the food system.

Soylent, for example, has developed a keen user base, but abandons pleasure and flavour in favour of food as fuel. Hampton Creek has done interesting research on commercially viable plant proteins to replace animal products, as in its product Just Mayo, but its research is largely proprietary. Both products treat food as a system of highly fungible commodities that can be produced, processed, shipped and eaten anywhere. When projects are more open, they can be improved by taking into account a wider range of organisms and ingredients in their databases. IBM’s Chef Watson, the online recipe creator, is a very interesting tool, but it draws on recipes that deeply limit the contexts in which it can be used. When introducing Chef Watson to our friends in Ireland, for instance, we could not find black pudding in the database, but we could find caviar. Hopefully, Chef Watson and cognitive cooking can become tools that are extensible and applicable to a wider set of agro-ecological and cultural conditions.

Growing and eating locally is one part of transforming our food system into something more desirable, and it is worth considering how databases of taste can contribute to the relocalisation of food cultures. Re-establishing or re-inventing regional food cultures, economies and infrastructure won’t succeed if it is primarily an exercise in romanticising an imagined historical and ecological moment, however. People, organisms and ingredients are on the move. Immigrants and refugees arrive. Climates change and preferences shift. Regional cuisines are important, but should not be frozen in time or made pure. Articulating a more just, biodiverse and beautiful food system will require imagination and an acceptance of change. We will have to assemble and combine ingredients and flavours that have never been put together before.

Our Recombinatorial Cuisine research initiative uses data to sort and recombine ingredients in new ways, with particular attention to attributes that are not included in commercial databases about food. The project creates new recipes. Instead of developing algorithms and databases with the most standardised and universally applicable attributes, our work focuses on smaller and more particular datasets and audiences, using digital technology for culinary inspiration without losing the biological, geographic and ecologic specificity of gastronomy.

This research has proved to be of interest to people who are excited about the potential of digital technology to aid creativity and gastronomy, but who also care deeply about the specific regional, genetic and cultural provenance of food. As we build each database and algorithm we work with a range of collaborators and groups to visit the sites of food production, gather food ingredients, test flavours and recipes, and refine our work. This process of assembly and interaction with growers, cooks and eaters is a key aspect of the research. Projects around Recombinatorial Cuisine are most often shared in the form of pop-up food stands, which put the database and the recombined food out for people to touch, taste, debate and take home.

Even though information technology would seem to promise endless variation and the ability to document and improvise with agricultural biodiversity more thoroughly, the opposite seems to be happening. Technology start-ups have an unrelenting focus on efficiency and fungibility, which may lead to a food system that is highly efficient, but also one that is less interesting and more brittle. Using the criteria of justice, biodiversity and beauty to examine the problems facing the food industry will yield outcomes that are less efficient, but more desirable and more resilient.


This article originally appeared in LS:N Global on May 17, 2016. 

Supermarket 2116 Workshop

April 27, 2016

In March, the Center led a 3 day design workshop with students from Gray’s School of Art and members of the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health in Aberdeen, Scotland. Together, we imagined future food scenarios and created products and prototypes that might be bought, sold, made, or eaten in 22nd century.


What will we find on supermarket shelves 100 years from now?

100 years is a long time; we don’t even know for sure if there will be supermarkets 100 years from now. Perhaps everything we want to eat will be 3D printed or delivered right to our mouths by drones.

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Participants articulated hopes and fears, dreams and nightmares about the future of the food system through utopian, dystopian, or mixed scenarios. 

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Informed by the current research of scientists at the Rowett Institute, and inspired by contemporary news stories or trends, each team created a future food system scenario and product. 

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Participants considered the social, environmental, scientific and political contexts of their food-related product in the context and under the constraints of their future scenario.

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The final day of the workshop was spent in MAKE Aberdeen where participants had access to rapid prototyping tools (laser cutters, 3d printers, etc.) to experiment with bringing their ideas to life.   

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Scenarios ranged from a post-meat war-torn nation with government instated home-growing units to humans moving under water into closed loop systems with designer air. Products ranged from 3D printed seeds for personalized nutrition to a survival book containing leaves of tear-away, protein-rich foods.

Recombinatorial Cuisine

March 15, 2016

NO REPRO FEE 10/3/2016 Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin today launched FIELD TEST: RADICAL ADVENTURES IN FUTURE FARMING, a new free exhibition that opens to the public on 11th of March. Pictured is chef and researcher Molly Garvey inside the LOCI Food Lab, a travelling food cart for prototyping, serving and debating a range of bioregional food futures at different sites around the world and allows visitors to the cart explore 'bite-sized bioregionalism' by identifying the attributes of the food system that are important to them. FIELD TEST: RADICAL ADVENTURES IN FUTURE FARMING asks if in the future, will we embrace lab-grown meat, tractor drones and vertical farms or are we willing to pay more for the slow, the local and the hand-picked? Is a truly sustainable farm compatible with meat from a lab or cutting edge technology? Should disappearing pollinators be replaced by robot bees? Will scientific researchers innovate to meet growing global consumption, or will visionaries reinvent farms as on-demand food forests, skyscrapers or even theme parks? The full list of exhibits can be found at www.dublin.sciencegallery.com/fieldtest. Photo: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The completion of the LOCI Food Lab version 3.0, caused us to realize that there was a shared thread through our recent researc. We pulled together some of this work and are thinking about it under the theme of: RECOMBINATORIAL CUISINE.

Recombinatorial Cuisine is a research project that uses data to sort and recombine ingredients in new ways, with particular attention to attributes that are not included in commercial databases about food. Instead of creating algorithms and databases with the most universal and generic attributes, our work focuses on smaller and more particular datasets and audiences, using digital technology for culinary inspiration without losing the biological, geographic and ecologic specificity of gastronomy.

COBALT-60 SAUCE is a series of barbecue sauces made from common mutation bred ingredients, that are derived from the FAO/IAEA Mutant Variety Database.

SPICE MIX SUPER COMPUTER 2.0 is a machine designed to blend, taste and record every spice combination possible on earth.

LOCI FOOD LAB is a traveling food stand for prototyping, serving and debating a range of bioregional food futures in different bioregions around the world.  

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This research has proven to be of interest to people who are excited about the potential of digital technology to aid creativity and gastronomy, but also care deeply about the specific regional, genetic and cultural provenance of a food. As we build each database and algorithm we work with a range of collaborators and publics to visit the sites of food production, gather food ingredients, test flavours and recipes, and refine our work. This process of assembly and interaction with growers, cooks and eaters is a key aspect of the research. The research is most often shared in the form of a pop-up food cart or food stand, which puts the database and the recombined food out for people to touch, taste, debate and take home.

The database can be manipulated through tools such as punch cards and iPads, and the data that is collected and recombined is displayed on monitors and thermal printers.

NO REPRO FEE 10/3/2016 Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin today launched FIELD TEST: RADICAL ADVENTURES IN FUTURE FARMING, a new free exhibition that opens to the public on 11th of March. Pictured is chef and researcher Molly Garvey inside the LOCI Food Lab, a travelling food cart for prototyping, serving and debating a range of bioregional food futures at different sites around the world and allows visitors to the cart explore 'bite-sized bioregionalism' by identifying the attributes of the food system that are important to them. FIELD TEST: RADICAL ADVENTURES IN FUTURE FARMING asks if in the future, will we embrace lab-grown meat, tractor drones and vertical farms or are we willing to pay more for the slow, the local and the hand-picked? Is a truly sustainable farm compatible with meat from a lab or cutting edge technology? Should disappearing pollinators be replaced by robot bees? Will scientific researchers innovate to meet growing global consumption, or will visionaries reinvent farms as on-demand food forests, skyscrapers or even theme parks? The full list of exhibits can be found at www.dublin.sciencegallery.com/fieldtest. Photo: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Bio Art | Altered Realities

September 27, 2015

BioArt

The Center’s work is featured in the new book Bio Art: Altered Realities by William Myers, published by Thames and Hudson. 

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Description

“In an era of fast-paced technological progress and with the impact of humans on the environment increasing, the concept of “nature” itself seems called into question. Bio Art explores the work of “bio artists,” those who work with living organisms and life processes to address the possibilities and dangers posed by biotechnological advancement.

A contextual introduction traces the roots of bio artistic practice, followed by four thematic chapters: Altering Nature, Experimental Identity and Mediums, Visualizing Scale and Scope, and Redefining Life. The chapters cover the key areas in which biotechnology has had an impact on today’s world, including ecology, biomedicine, designer genomes, and changing approaches to evolutionary theory, and include profiles of the work of sixty artists, collectives, and organizations from around the world. Interviews with eight leading bio artists and technologists provide deeper insight into the ideas and methods of this new breed of creative practitioners.”

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You can purchase a copy of Bio Art here.

Meat Map & Food Futurism in Disnovation Pop-up, Moscow

September 2, 2015

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Meat Map and Food Futurism (originally featured in the Center for Genomic Gastronomy’s Pray for Beans book) were displayed in Moscow last month as part of the Disnovation pop-up show. Disnovation is a critical exploration of the mechanisms and rhetoric of innovation, and the event was hosted by the Polytechnic-Museum and the Strelka Institute

More about the event

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About Disnovation:

“Over the past few decades, industrialised societies have experienced an unprecedented technological boom. The advent of information and communication technologies, irrigating whole domains of our existence, has deeply transformed our relationship with the surrounding world. This global phenomenon has contributed to put techno-sciences at the core of our belief systems and the consumption / innovation duality as the driving force behind our economy.

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The notion of innovation is the ultimate contemporary rhetorical tool, spreading from the technoscientific field into the sectors of politics, management, eduction and art. Thus we arrive at the hypothesis of a possible “propaganda of innovation”, as an ideology aiming to solve any need, problem, or desire through the production of constantly changing artifacts and concepts, justifying technological obsolescence in the name of short-term economic vitality.”

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Marte Teigen on Food Phreaking 01

June 1, 2015

This past spring we had the pleasure of working with Marte Teigen, a talented student at KHiB, in Bergen, Norway. As part of her internship at the Center for Genomic Gastronomy, she got to put her inventive illustration and visual communication skills to use on Food Phreaking issue 01. Marte has recently posted her own photos of the book, and you can find out more about her work here.

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CURRENT & UPCOMING

7-12 December 2015
Smog Tasting, Cop21 Paris
17 October 2015
Urban Nature Symposium, NYC
6- 28 August, 2015
Disnovation Pop-Up Show
November 28, 2014 - February 2015
Matter of Life. MU, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Sept. 25 - 27, 2014
London Bridge Live Arts Festival
March 11 - April 19th 2014
VIDA 15.0 Award Show
March 28 & 29, 2014
Future Everything Festival