Download my food

2019-2020

Abstract

With modern chemistry and the introduction of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), the 20th century introduced a means of deconstructing flavor into its constituent chemicals. Commercial production and food chemistry helped establish a feeling that flavor had become democratized and accessible for all to taste . More recently, waves of media democratization struck thanks to digitization & the presence of the internet, e.g. last decade’s “democratization of filmmaking”, which enabled a low barrier of entry to produce multimedia files. Still, the Internet’s influence on the democratization of flavor remains elusive, and no commercial analog to GC-MS exists that can fit in our pockets, let alone any way to download/taste a flavor by pressing a button. Most contemporary attempts at flavor digitization by the masses rely on audiovisual experiences (mukbangs, blogs, food porn, written recipes, anecdotes) to “digitize” and “communicate” flavor.

An offline installation featuring vegan jellies in a mini-fridge with a survey. In an attempt to crowd-source as a means of digitizing the flavor, visitors try a jelly and may respond to a survey on the jelly’s taste, smell, texture, etc. The results are gathered in a publicly accessible dataset. Online visitors access a webpage with a single link that dynamically packages both the recipe and dataset as a single ZIP file, representing the awkward transference of flavor.

For those interested, I recommend reading Dr. Nadia Berenstein‘s thesis, Flavor Added (2018).

Bibliography

Berenstein, N. (2018). Flavor Added: The Sciences of Flavor and the Industrialization of Taste in Ameria [Dissertation]. University of Pennsylvania.

Exhibitions

Virtual pavilion Fixity Equals Death online pavilion & offline embassy (Space-P11, Chicago) as part of The Wrong Biennale (2019-2020).

Press

Kamp, Justin. “The ‘Wrong Biennale’ Seeks to Create the Right Conditions for Digital Art.” Hyperallergic, February 27, 2020. Archival recording.

Documentation

A mini-fridge on top of a table.