Future Food Cults is a set of images, artifacts, and stories that imagine five different food technologies, movements, or trends in Ireland by the year 2116.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, more than 50 percent of all Irish exports have been pharmaceutical products. As the century progressed, human labor in the sector was replaced by artificial intelligence and robotics, and many pharma employees were made redundant. During the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant in North Wales, an accident spread radioactive material across the Irish Sea, causing random mutations in coastal plant life. An unemployed biochemist discovers a mutated plant while foraging. She secretly breeds the cultivar and begins selling the product at her local farmer’s market.
Operating without government oversight for 15 years, urban orchard activists and guerilla grafters led the transformation of under-utilised urban landscapes into productive growing spaces. The city council finally recognized the value of edible landscapes and urban greenery in city life, supporting a networked system of sensors, trees, berry bushes, monitoring mechanisms and urban gardens that now communicate to maximise yields. Urban foragers check their devices to see when food is ready to be harvested and processed, funding their work through hyper-local apple cider sales.
The De-Extinction Deli is a market stand that serves meat from animals that have been brought back from extinction using biotechnologies. As policy makers have struggled to keep up with the development of these technologies, a regulatory grey zone regarding the use of de-extinct animals has emerged. Entrepreneurs have forged ahead, while fights about ethical issues rage on social media and news outlets. A heated debate over whether or not the de-extinct Irish elk should be eaten escalates, and the Dublin De-Extinction Deli is vandalized.
Due to climate change, extreme temperatures have made most of continental Europe a hostile environment for human life. Waves of climate refugees are showing up on Irish shores seeking food and shelter. International aid groups have turned to the meal-replacement-beverage Soylent to treat emergency malnutrition. Developed in the early 21st century, the Soylent startup aimed to create a powdered drink mix for self-identified “time poor” tech elites. With its broad spectrum of nutrients and long shelf life, the once trendy Soylent is now used as humanitarian food aid. It’s a good year for Soylent shareholders.
COBALT 60 SAUCE
Mutation breeding is the process of exposing plants and seeds to radiation to cause random mutations. The mutated plants that show desirable attributes can then be reproduced, creating a mutant variety from the original stock. This process has been used throughout the world since the 1950s, but wasn’t practiced in Ireland until a small group of plant-breeding enthusiasts developed DIY methods. Weather permitting, this group of plant breeding hobbyists gather together at weekend barbecues to sample dishes made from experimental mutationbred ingredients.