The Spice Mix Super Computer was a part of the Abandon Normal Devices in Manchester, England this weekend. The AND festival commissioned the Center for Genomic Gastronomy to create a new work inside a traveling caravan and this is what we made:
The Centre for Genomic Gastronomy had deigned a exciting new culinary commission, the Spice Mix Super-Computer! The Spice Mix Super-Computer is a massive mobile food machine, which allows users to create, print and taste a unique blend of spices from millions of possible combinations. First, plug into the bespoke Olfactory Synthesizer to combine and compare smells from our database of international spices. Then, choose your favorite spices and watch the computer process and interpret your selection. After the food-printing is complete, take your customized container of spice to the BetaTaster™ food counter and share your recipe and experience, and take home your spice mix to share with others.
Spices as Social Media
Spices are one of the oldest forms of long distance communication on the planet, but we do not usually treat them as information that can be combined and disseminated as a form of human-to-human communication. Digital technology has created opportunities for individuals to mix and share images and sounds across great distances, but not flavors and smells. This project assembles spices from all over the globe, allowing individuals to customize, mix and spread smell and taste messages with other humans.
The Spice Mix Super-Computer is designed to record and store every possible spice combination, analyzing user preferences and patterns along the way. We hope this data will begin to reveal the underlying structures and the role of spices in the agri-eco-culinary system. Are combinations of spices strange attractors, naturally aligning, or can we open our mouths and minds to novel combinations of smell, taste and chemical reaction?
Spices Change Minds
But be careful: spices are dead and dried plant corpses with the substantial power to direct and regulate human activity. Many spices come from poisonous plants, and have powerful physical and mental effects on humans. If you are mixed up with spices how do you know they are not using you to achieve their dark designs? Might a heretofore untasted spice combination unlock a door to unexpected culinary experiences and states of consciousness? There are not enough BetaTasters™ on the planet asking these questions. The Spice Mix Super Computer can help.