Art by KEVIN HARRIS
The Adversarial Food Design workshop was organized in collaboration with The Smart Gastronomy Lab in Namur, Belgium as park of Kikk Festival, 2016. Molecular gastronomy techniques such as spherification and smoke guns allowed participants to explore the ways in which organisms can be processed, preserved and turned into ingredients or commodities.
Participants first took part in a Soylent Banquet, before transforming local ingredients and international commodities – a way of experiencing the fetishized taste of place (local) and the ubiquitous taste of no place (international) that represent the extremes of our current food system. All participants then collectively prototyped new recipes and ways of eating.
Dishes created by the participants:
(Alternative Future) In Spain the Republican Party has won the civil war and created this dish to celebrate it. It has the purple and yellow colors of their flag. There’s no meat in it because it was banned, therefore worms are the new high-protien source for the Spanish people.
[potato powder, d’Ardennes butter, hand mixer, beautiful]
Cherry beer marinated, sous-vide chicken, with a side of carrots & beets and pineapples with Goji-ginger infusion. A dish from the near-future; created as a thanksgiving meal by refugees on a newly formed island off the South African coast to celebrate their victory over the Soylent Corp.
[sugar, cherry beer, juicer, simple, awe-inspiring]
OCEANA DESSERT: Simple product, complex kitchen
Made of tofu-ananas blend inverted into molds. With simple syrup from seaweed water. Sous vide seaweed in pineapple juice. All topped with algae bar crumble. In this future, ocean seaweed and industrially grown algae are staples and simple to grow sustainably, so all the energy is used in the kitchen to be creative with these abundant ingredients.
[tofu, sous vide, slower, real, seafood]
THE SUNNY SIDE OF FISH
Baked smoked mackerel with a spirulina based-sauce (spirulina, ginger yoghurt, apple pineapple, blended & syphoned). Chestnut balls & fried potatoes (chestnut pate, honey, onion salt, sliced potato). Vacuum sealed coleslaw (sliced apple, onion, carrot, brussel sprouts, pickled with vinegar, sumac, cumin, mixed with yogurt).
[fresh, vacuum sealer, Soylent/MRBs, vegalicious]
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
— Manifesto on Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation by Laboria Cuboniks
— FROM COUNTERCULTURE TO CYBERCULTURE by Fred Turner
Q: Favourite museum?
Q: Best performance?
Pony Dance at the 10th Annual Dublin Dance Festival (2014)
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
Q: What work(s) of art inspire you?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Participants articulated hopes and fears, dreams and nightmares about the future of the food system through utopian, dystopian, or mixed scenarios.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Center’s work is featured in the new book Bio Art: Altered Realities by William Myers, published by Thames and Hudson.
“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.”
You can purchase a copy of Bio Art here.
CURRENT & UPCOMING
October 21 - 29, 2017Dutch Design Week: Embassy of Food
October 19 - 21, 2017Experiencing Food (Lisbon)
October 2nd, 2017Variety Showcase, Culinary Breeding Network
Aug. 9-10, 2017Hackers & Designers Summer Academy
June 23-24, 2017Zine Hotspot — Cork Printmakers @ Waterstones
May 2017NEPTUN ART/ SCIENCE LAB
Nov. 8, 2016New National Dish, Jeu de Paume
Nov. 5 - Apr. 2, 20162116: Forecast of the Next Century
Nov. 5th, 2016KiKK Festival Workshop
OCT. 14-16, 2016Pixelache Festival visiting JYVÄSKYLÄ
Oct. 12, 2016Couterfactual Cuisine at IFTF
Sept 22-25, 2017Pixelache Festival, Interfaces for Empathy
Sept 15, 2016Food in Space, ESA, London Science Museum
June - September 2016Medialab Prado: Interactivos 10-Year Celebration
Spring 2015 - Summer 2016Leverhulme Trust, Artist in Residence, the Rowett Institute, Scotland
May 27-29, 2016May Festival, Aberdeen. Food Forecast
March - July 20162116 @ Glucksman Gallery, Cork, Ireland
10 March - 05 June 2016FIELD TEST Exhibition, Science Gallery, Dublin
18 March 2016Soylent Banquet, Internet Stadl, Dusseldorf
9—21, FEB 2016SMOG TASTING: SMOG SYNTHESIZER
5-6 FebraryDe-Extinction Deli, AND Fair, Rijeka Croatia
29 January 2016De-Extinction Deli, V&A London
7-12 December 2015Smog Tasting, Cop21 Paris
17 October 2015Urban Nature Symposium, NYC
28 OCTOBER, 2015SECRET SUPPER, Science Gallery, Dublin
19 NOV 2015Aeroir Dinner: Headlands Center for the Arts
6- 28 August, 2015Disnovation Pop-Up Show
May 30th, 2015Ideas City Festival: Smog Tasting
November 28, 2014 - February 2015Matter of Life. MU, Eindhoven, Netherlands
October - December 2014V2_, Rotterdam, NL. Art & Research Residency
October 7th- December 6th, 2014DISNOVATION exhibition. Le Bel Ordinaire - Billière, France
November 21Doritos4Snowden Workshop, De PUNT, Amsterdam, NL
Sept. 25 - 27, 2014London Bridge Live Arts Festival
Sept. 4th, 2014LOCI Food Lab will be at First Thursday
Aug 30 - Sept 1 2014Supermarket Mutants will be exhibited at Bumbershoot Festival
- To Flavour Our Tears - DDW & Lisbon Food Studies
- SEED-O-MATIC at the Variety Showcase, PDX
- On & Off the Grid: Hackers & Designers
- Melbu Residency: Eating in Extreme Environments
- Future Festivals and Celebrations: Workshop
- POSITION OPENING: Image Maker
- Planetary Sculpture Supper Club: Arctic Circle Edition
- Smog Tasting in New Delhi
- LUCKY PEACH: The Flavor of Smog
- Adversarial Food Design: Commodities, Compression & Kitchen Chemistry
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