Center for Genomic Gastronomy

Zackery Denfeld and Cathrine Kramer
Friday, March 10, 12:00 a.m.2:00 a.m.
LeRoy Neiman Center
37 S. Wabash
Chicago, IL
United States

RECONNECTING TASTE & PLACE: A More Just, Biodiverse and Beautiful Food System

Taste matters. Biology is not computing. Inhabiting places that are beautiful and meaningful make us happy. Or at least sane.

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy was launched as an artistic faux-institution in 2010 with the brash classification of “artist led think tank”. The network of institutions, scientists, chefs, farmers and hackers on 3 continents that has evolved under that monicker, has started to live up to the title. What started out as a small project to ask the seemingly stupid question of “What do GMOs taste like?”, has grown into a much larger set of questions and positions about food, art and technology that promises at least another decade or two of meaningful work. Be careful what you wish for, and even more careful what you satirize! One day you may actually find yourself co-founder of an artist-led think tank that studies the biodiversity of biotechnologies of human food systems, and you’ll have to explain that at parties and to your family.

In this talk we will focus on the relationship between taste and place, and the ways our recent work may have particular relevance in relation to the waves of alienation, placelessness and nativism that are sweeping the planet. The neoliberal world order is clearly crumbling around us, and we need to dream up futures other than the reactionary, xenophobic and greedy visions that are on offer.

Food futures are a great place to start and art schools are great places to dream and imagine. By the end of the talk we hope to convince you (and ourselves) that techno-utopia has run out of S.T.E.A.M. and we want to welcome you to the F.E.A.S.T. (Food, Art, Ecology, Science and Technology. In that order).

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy is an artist-led think tank launched in 2010 by Cathrine Kramer (NO) and Zack Denfeld (US) that examines the biotechnologies and biodiversity of human food systems.

Their mission is to map food controversies, prototype alternative culinary futures and imagine a more just, biodiverse & beautiful food system.

The Center presents research about the organisms and environments manipulated by human food cultures in the form of public lectures, research publications, meals and exhibitions. They have collaborated with scientists, chefs, hackers and farmers in Europe, Asia, and North America. The Center’s work has been published in We Make Money Not Art, Science, Nature and Gastronomica and exhibited at the World Health Organization, Jeu de Paume, Kew Gardens, Science Gallery Dublin and others.