The food research platform Black Almanac operates on the assumption that humans have barely begun to exploit the full spectrum of possibilities for energy and matter that might be understood as “food.” Far from it. In fact, we argue that it is the repetition of a limited repertoire of cultural, culinary, technological and agricultural techniques that is the primary cause of widespread ecological damage suffered in the name of feeding.
In 12,000 years of agricultural time, human beings have cooked both dishes and the landscapes that produce them. We cook the Earth in order to feed ourselves and now the Earth is cooking us. And yet the route towards a viable, equitable, sustainable food system will still require “cooking” – not only of new and currently alien foods, but of the infrastructures, knowledge, and institutions that will drive this transformation.
Over three workshops at Medialab Matadero between 17-21 October, plus a field trip, performance, and public discussion, we will invite participants and guest speakers to reassess the past, present, and future of food. From precision agriculture to synthetic fats, perverse government subsidies to soil ecology, flavour science and liberation from or by food – the topic is endlessly complex and often controversial, clouded by subjective intuition and pastoral nostalgia.
To this end we will be joined by chefs, designers, artists, engineers, philosophers, physicists and chemists to question everyday anxieties about what we eat and where it comes from. We will expose hidden blockages holding back change, and imagine food futures that do not presently exist, recognising that while kitchens are domestic laboratories, so too is the food system at large, a metabolic realm where culture steers chemistry, and vice versa.
Who is it targeted to:
We welcome applications from anyone who eats – but those with a defined role or research interest related to food are especially welcome. We would also like to know what skills you might bring to the workshop – be that as a designer, writer, artist, scientist, chef, programmer or entrepreneur – as participants will work towards a final outcome that incorporates the group’s findings to make them accessible to others.
> See detailed program here
List of invited experts: