GOOD

Can the Art of Eating Help Develop Our Taste for Creativity?

“Eating designer” Marije Vogelzang creates sensory food experiences that stoke more than just the appetite.

A scene from this year's C2 Montreal Commerce + Creativity, where one of the main themes was food and innovation. Image courtesy of C2 Montreal.

Last week, Montreal, a city known both for its haute French-fusion cuisine and the decadent, gravy-filled side-dish poutine, hosted a multi-media exploration of the taste bud. This year’s C2 Montreal conference, a yearly creative event run by Cirque du Soleil that’s been described by some as “TED Talks with trapezes,” prominently featured food as one of the main themes. Events ranged from a series of workshops held by Keurig that explored smart appliances and even smarter small-business solutions, to start-up founder and farmer Sean McDonald espousing the virtues of crickets (both for livestock and human consumption). There was also the C2 Lab: Food Challenges, which included eating memory-activating popsicles, as well as experiments with virtual reality, suspension nets, and fog boxes, and the unfortunately titled “In The Mouth”—a curious series of workshops that let participants eat their way “inside the mind of a chef with a mixed-up sense of taste” via edible and audible experiments.

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Video: Marije Vogelzang Designs Marshmallow Clouds Video: Marije Vogelzang Designs Marshmallow Clouds

What is food design, anyway? Marije Vogelzang talks about funeral feasts, invented meat, and what she calls "eating design."

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Golden Rice and Glow-In-The-Dark Jello: Imagining the Future of Food Design

How should we make sure that our food is being redesigned for good, rather than just for profit?


Food—the substance itself, as well as its methods of production and consumption—has always been the subject of tinkering and design. The color of carrots, the shape of silverware, and the layout of supermarkets are all products of human ingenuity applied to the business of nourishment.

Today, food is being redesigned more fundamentally and at a faster pace than ever before. This process is taking place in a wide variety of different contexts, with very different goals in mind, from corporate food technologists re-shaping salt crystals to maintain palatability while combating heart disease, to synaesthetic experiences designed by artist-entrepreneurs such as Marije Vogelzang. On the one hand, the Gates Foundation is backing genetically modified "golden rice," engineered to contain higher levels of the essential micronutrient, beta-carotene, while, on the other, design provocateurs Dunne & Raby recently proposed expanding the amount of food available for human consumption through a range of DIY digestive system hacks.

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