Artist Miriam Simun imagines the foods that will replace the ones that disappear.
Agalinis acuta, a pink wildflower that grows in the sandy grasslands of New York State, blooms for one day before withering. Adding insult to injury, not only does the flower have a short life, the plant from which it emerges is endangered, with only about 20 colonies remaining. As a result, few folks ever get to see them, let alone smell their fragrant perfumes.
New York-based artist Miriam Simun is out to change that. For the past few years, she has been developing work that allows audiences to smell endangered or threatened things. Last year’s collaboration with Miriam Songster last year, GhostFood, was a quasi-food truck, where “customers” were temporarily outfitted with a device that sent synthesized scents of chocolate, cod, and peanut butter into their noses. Each food corresponded to one that would potentially disappear from our diets due to changes in rainforests, oceans, and grasslands, but yet mimicked the texture of each. GhostFood allowed its participants to step into a frightening future to experience what we might be eating if current environmental trends continue.
On October 8, Simun’s Agalinis acuta plant project will be on display at the Museum of Art and Design in New York as part of their NYC Makers exhibition and continuing the conversation about sustainability, human experience, and the power of memory. In her piece called “Agalinis Dreams,” she will again hook people up to her “Direct Olfactory Stimulation Device,” but deliver the scent of the rare, endangered flower while users sip on a “ritual” cocktail.
Photos courtesy Miriam Simun