Today a group exhibition about the deeper layers of food opens in two locations in Budapest.
Jiwon Woo: Mother’s hand taste (photo credit: Hanneke Wetzer)
The exhibition SANTO PALATO – HOLY PALATE is curated by Judit Szalipszki.
Food is a basic need, one of the most essential requirements for life. We eat on workdays and on holidays; food plays a part in the narrative of our everyday rituals and is the protagonist in several religious and secular ceremonies. It evokes a complex system of symbols and metaphors.
Our metabolism is never at rest; digestion is under way while you are reading these lines. We eat from birth to death; in the morning, at noon, and in the evening; in our joy and in our sorrow. We eat alone and in company, slowly and in haste, munching lazily or with vigour, chomping, gobbling, devouring. We consume in restaurants, bistros, markets, pubs ‒ from plastic containers or with silver cutlery. Be it cooked or raw, meat or vegetable, sweet, savoury, bitter, sour, spicy, or smoked, local or exotic ‒ we eat it all. Our food is planted, watered, nursed, reaped, harvested, washed, chopped, kneaded, salted, peppered, spiced, seared, simmered, boiled. We pour it out, stuff it, top it up, covet it ‒ often its pure sight can make our mouths water. We take a bite and it becomes a part of our bodies: chewed, swallowed, digested, and defecated. We gain and lose weight as we obey our appetite, the labyrinthine expectations around eating, or the innumerable sanctions regulating the body.
Beyond the biological reality and its primary function of relieving hunger, food is a complex social phenomenon: it is the alpha and omega of numerous social, cultural, economic, political, and ecological processes. What and how we produce and consume is strongly determined by structures of power. Geographical, financial, medical, religious, philosophical, and identity concerns are all present in our relationship to food. Ideally, food is the source of joy and sensual pleasure. Its consumption is not a mere daily habit, but a communal event that can provide an opportunity for social interaction and enhance social cohesion on the micro level. Diet is a key component of personal, community, or national identity: consuming food or drink may be a form of practicing one’s cultural identity, while the refusal to eat can be a political act. Gastronomic heritage and cooking traditions are passed on from one generation to another not only through recipes and culinary crafts, but also through microorganisms.
Thinking about the future of producing and consuming our food is an urgent task: according to predictions, the Earth’s population will increase by almost 2 billion by 2050, further deepening the gap and tension between famine and overconsumption. Current estimates anticipate that if we were to keep up with the consuming habits of an expanding population, we will have to up our food production by 50% in the next 30 years. FAO prognosticates that although the meat industry is one of the most polluting sectors in terms of its CO2 and methane emissions, meat consumption will increase in numerous countries over the next decades. Our unsustainable consumption habits are closely connected to alarming climate change and other related tendencies, such as the water crisis, overfishing, the deterioration of soil, economic models preferring monoculture over biodiverse farming, and a calamitous waste management system.
The exhibition takes place at two different locations: works presented in the Studio Gallery primarily focus on the ecological aspect of food and eating, while in the Korean Cultural Center’s exhibition space, the connection between food and cultural identity will be on the menu.
Depicting food or using it as a medium has several precedents in the history of art, such as the puritanical or lavish still lives of the Dutch Golden Age; the Futurists’ multi-sensorial banquets; Daniel Spoerri’s snare-pictures and bohemian soirées; the Fluxus artists’ culinary experiments balancing between the edible and the inedible, as well as their conceptual meals and other gestures that turned the mundane act of eating into a form of art (Alison Knowles, George Maciunas); FOOD, the artist-run restaurant in Soho by Gordon-Matta Clark and his colleagues; pop art’s large-scale objects and paintings depicting the consumer culture of the 1950s and ’60s; or the feminist-critical interpretations of food, cooking, and eating (Martha Rosler, Judy Chicago). From the ’90s onwards, artists have increasingly treated meals as catalysts for social or discursive situations (Rirkrit Tiravanija, Michael Rakowitz, Conflict Kitchen). Recently, the list of roles an artist can assume became supplemented with that of the farmer and activist, which can also be interpreted as a form of exodus or a praxis aimed at developing alternative economic models (Fernando Garcia Dory, Ivan Ladislav Galeta, ex-artists’ collective). Over the last few years, there has been a proliferation of projects recounting the story of a given meal or type of food as a postcolonial narrative (Patricia Kaersenhout, the Cooking Sections, Renzo Martens).
In line with the perspectives outlined above, Santopalato focuses not so much on the aesthetic or gastronomic aspects of our diet, but rather examines nutrition, eating, food production, and feeding in their social contexts. The exhibition also presents a few possible, speculative scripts about the future of eating and growing food, because our current unsustainable consumption patterns necessitate the emergence of novel, even seemingly radical alternatives.
*The title Santopalato (Holy Palate) recalls the Futurists’ restaurant in Toronto. Primarily associated with the figure of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the movements’ proclamations were phrased in the second wave of Futurism, and should therefore be taken with a pinch of salt: the Manifesto of Futurist Cooking (1930), which was followed by The Futurist Cookbook 2 years later, is imbued with a fair amount of nationalism and macho banter. Nonetheless, the Futurists’ culinary ideas almost predicted today’s molecular gastronomy. Their experiments foreshadowed a diet of (protein) powders that is efficient yet requires only minimal time and energy input; while their performative banquets ‒ based on the harmony (or dissonance) of smells, lights, music, touch, and of course food ‒ anticipated the contemporary trend of multisensory culinary experience, which lends them continuing relevance. (Unfortunately however, the practical application of nutritious radio waves is yet to be figured out.)
Santopalato – Holy Palate
Korean Cultural Center
opening: 29 May 2018, 6pm
on view: 30 May – 31st July 2018
opening: 31 May 2018, 7pm
on view: 1- 30 June 2018
Korean Cultural Center: Szabolcs Barakonyi, Gabó Bartha, Dániel Bozzai, Marcell Esterházy, Andrea Fajgerné Dudás, Viola Fátyol, Luca Gőbölyös, Imre Lepsényi, Dorottya Poór, Eszter Ágnes Szabó, Dominika Trapp, Jiwon Woo, Ilona Németh (lecture)
Studio Gallery: Balázs Antal, Gabó Bartha, Andrea Fajgerné Dudás, Csilla Hódi, Sz.A.F. (Miklós Mécs and Judit Fischer), Isaac Monté, Daniel Parnitzke, Marie Caye & Arvid Jense, Eszter Ágnes Szabó
Melanie Bonajo (screening)
The exhibition is curated by Judit Szalipszki, freelance curator
Panem et Circences, bread and circuses is exactly the right title for this Italian food-design-art studio.
From their website:
Panem Et Circenses is an artist collective founded by Ludovico Pensato and Alessandra Ivul in 2012 in Berlin.
Panem Et Circenses uses participatory practices for investigating human relations activated by food.
It means that we design and build relational works (installation, performance) in which food is a symbolic and significant tool that is used always site specific.
It means that in mostly our works food is there (or may be not) not to eat it like in ” a creative / alternative / art catering …”, the point is think about it.
In this way we do as well critical food design.
Food, as an element both material and symbolic, is a powerful device that brings together the natural and the cultural sphere, both present in the human dimension in which we live every day.
photocredit: Design Academy Eindhoven – Femke Reijerman
SAM is a Symbiotic Autonomous Machine, designed by French-Dutch designers Marie Caye and Arvid Jense, but not owned by them.
SAM produces soda made from Waterkefir and sells it. Since he can’t taste the flavour of his produced soda, he adds his twitter account to the receipt given at purchase where he asks customers to rate the flavour online in order to adjust the recipe.
He uses the money earned to employ humans to work for him. Notions of profit, or even greed, are superfluous and SAM produces at cost, reimburses debt and pays bills as a single economic entity. Since our current society does not give agency yet to non-human commercial entities he rent’s Marie’s identity to be able to get registered at the Chamber of Commerce.
What would our food system look like if it was run and owned by robots? Which choices would be made and would the system become more fair?
A legal framework, “The Autonomous Actors Rights”, is proposed along with SAM to define realistically the role of these types of hybrid tech into society. This proposition is meant to inspire new economical and legal systems based on trustworthy relationships between humans and machines.
see it explained here: https://vimeo.com/238179534
see more about Arvid and Marie: https://arvidandmarie.com
Here you can see an interview with some of SAM’s employees: SAMfinalsmall
photocredit: Jeroen van der Wielen
photocredit: Anisa Xhomaqi
Ever since food-delivery services like Deliveroo and Foodora started appearing in cities, spontaneous meeting spots have formed as well – places where the deliverers gather while waiting for the next order. For practical reasons, the spots are often central and highly visible, and could therefore be considered one of the major physical manifestations of the gig economy in cities across the world.
They are not just bringing food to your door faster than ever before – food delivery services may also be changing the way we plan our future cities.
Public Waiters is a visual documentation of how public space is affected by this new form of automatisation in the food industry. Focusing on the waiting spot in the center of Eindhoven, a live stream from a camera identifies the colour of the worker’s uniforms and uploads the images online. The potentially never-ending video archive aims to expose the importance of these simple spots in public space – the unspectacular epicentres of the discussion about the future of automated work.
About the writer
Jonas Ersland is a photographer and designer based in Berlin. He works from a documentary perspective, using both his own images and found material as a starting point for recontextualising, as well as reflecting on, our own role in society and our identity meeting others. He studied at the Food Non Food department at the Design Academy Eindhoven, and most of his projects address the way humans relate to the systems surrounding them.
picture by Stummerer / Hablesreiter / Akita / koeb
The Austrian duo Honey and Bunny (Martin Hablesreiter and Sonja Stummerer), initially working in architecture, changed their career into the realm of Food Design since 2003. First by researching the literal, industrial design of food with a book, exhibition and film called Food Design and Food design XL, later with performances, interventions and dinners questioning not only the food itself but also the etiquette, social setting and politics of food. This lead to their next book about the act of eating called EAT DESIGN. The work of Honey and Bunny is an ongoing research and reflection on the simple act of eating. Their work is an undefined mix of critical and endearing, often as astoundingly genius yet simple as a child questioning the seemingly obvious. Sometimes their style might stand in the way of their message, other times they are right on spot.
By choosing performance as their medium they are able get under the skin of the audience, manipulating their experience and bringing narratives as sustainability, politics, food culture and food value literally to the table. Contrary to the books, which are frozen in time but are also a dense source of knowledge, the performances are scattered, ephemeral but also developing and building on previous experiences. It seems, as a design studio, Honey and Bunny have found the perfect mix of expression focussed on the multi-layered, intangible field of food.
While food is in their core, they can flexibly move to other fields of interest. Their next book will be about cleaning. On their website they state: Once again we are dedicating ourselves to an everyday activity; we are thematising rituals, traditions, and conventions around design objects that go completely unnoticed. On the basis of the private, almost intimate, cleaning process we disclose social and political questions around equality, work migration, ecology and modern slavery.
Sonja and Martin have their own food design program at New Design University in St. Pölten, Austria.
by EAT ART collective
Powder to the People is the title for a long term research into the role that industrial food additives could play in domestic kitchens.
The food industry’s legit goal is to make profit. For this they invest in research. Innovation takes place if it can save costs or sell better. Since the industrial revolution, the accumulated innovations have drifted the industrial kitchen so far from the home-cooking-kitchen, that unschooled cooks no longer understand what it takes to produce processed foods. And the food industry saw no interest in educating consumers to understand what was happening. This has created a mutual state of mistrust and misunderstanding. By now, it seems impossible to have a normal conversation on development and production of food. However, if we plan to feed 3 billion more people in 2050, we might need to consider the use of some kinds of advanced technologies in our food system and culture. The potentials of industrial food processes are too important to be left to hypochondric American parents and molecular chefs with a fetish for circus foods.
As engineers, thinkers and food fanatics, Eat Art Collective sees a future where semi-industrial food production play an important part in feeding the planet. If we, the people, can make our own educated choices in the longevity of our bread, the volume of our chicken, the nutritional value of our rice and the price of our taste, then the overal effect on the planet might surprise us all.
As artists, we are a critical party outside the shared battlefield of industry, consumer and government. In a time where we trust Youtube more than doctors, friends more than magazines and most of all value our gut feeling more than industry leaders, it is hard to find support for well-considered shades of gray. It seems only more articles and journals will not solve the problem. By creating opportunities for people to get their hands dirty and convince themselves, we create places of transformation that can be petri-dishes for public debate. We opt for a method of research in which we actively involve people during the development, pursuing a mix of indigenous and scientific knowledge, but also aware that failing in public makes us human and thus more trustworthy. By mixing information, criticism and personal experience, we lay a foundation for opinions that have shades of gray and can still resist the tidal wave of public opinion.
We invite all possibles partners and anyone interested in collaborations on this mission to contact us through email@example.com.
Lots of text. Feel like some action? Join us at one of the next PROEVEN#!
Photos by Anouk Bouten.
Text by Merle Bergers
Graduate Man and Food – Design Academy Eindhoven
Could understanding the language of plants help us feel empathy for them?
There seems to be a new perspective in science and biology that is about -really – understanding flora. For a long time plants have been regarded as one of the most unintelligent of species and biologists who claimed otherwise where frowned upon and called quacks or new age mystics. Now, more people in the area of biology and science say that there might be a possibility that plants are much more intelligent and much more like us than most people think — capable of cognition, communication, information processing, computation, learning, memory and collaborating with other species. A way of communication that happens mostly via the use of volatiles like scents.
Growing up in a small forest where my fantasy, facts and imagination about nature intermingled I was very much drawn to this ‘secret life of plants’. I am still very fascinated by this subject, taking cues from scientists and writers like Peter Wohlleben, Daniel Chamovitz and Michael Pollan. Taking up this information I was getting more and more interested to see how plants set up collaborations with species like insects, micro-organisms, herbivores and humans. I worked together with scientist Peter Roessingh (UvA) to try to comprehend how this really works. I wanted to know what these plant collaborations smell like, if I might smell something familiar that could be re-interpreted with this new perspective. At one point I read in Chamovitz’ book about people working with plants sometimes stop wearing certain perfumes like Chanel nr. 5. It contains methyl jasmonate, which confuses certain plants as they would create this volatiles themselves when under attack of a herbivore, activating a defense mechanism.
Lingua Planta is a sort of language trainer that proposes a new perspective on plants. An installation emits fragrant mist based on the three ways plants use volatiles to work together with other organic species; attract, repel and defend. With a range of volatiles from IFR, I blended three different perfumes based on these messages. When smelling these perfumes, memories may arise of fresh cut grass, walks in a pine forest after a storm or the pungent smell of citrus fruits and blooming flowers like roses. Scents that might smell nice to us, but each have an olfactory message. It leaves room for interpretation and thoughts about the role these volatiles play in a plant’s life.
With Lingua Planta I wanted to show a behind-the-scenes of how this mechanism of the plant language center works, how it looks and wat it smells like. It is an objective display, I don’t claim to explain it very practically. The installation’s aesthetics are based on the microscopical magnification of a tomato plant surface . On top of the surface we can see the stomata, which are basically the sensorial transmitters of the plant. This is also shown in an accompanying microscopic film shot at the laboratory of the UvA. The goal is to show open minds a window to some of the magic and mystery of plant life, to understand them a little bit better, to realise they are living, active and adaptive organisms that are capable of communication.
The biggest fundamental difference between plants and humans seems to be the brain. Plants don’t have those, but nevertheless show some sort of communication interspecies and cross species and a complex system of receiving and reacting to many sorts of these volatiles. It might be too early to call plants intelligent but I hope Lingua Planta gives room to think about exactly this.