Meta.Morf 2022 – Ecophilia / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art / May 19 – July 31 /
Curator: Zane Cerpina / Co-curator: Espen Gangvik

To Flavour Our Tears: eyePhones V. 3.0 / 2016 – ongoing

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy [NO/PT]

To Flavour Our Tears (TFOT) is an experimental restaurant that places humans back into the food chain by investigating the human body as a food source for other species. By researching the culinary needs of insects, decomposers and other eaters-of-humans, we hope to intimately and materially reconnect humans with the metabolic flows of the planet and our role in shaping them. We already spend a lot of time making our food flavourful, and making ourselves beautiful. Shouldn’t we also flavour ourselves well for the organisms that consume us? Will the chef of the future help humans taste good to nonhumans?

Using a tear-drinking species of moth as jumping off point, To Flavour Our Tears asks: How do you taste to the small organisms that consume parts of you everyday, and every last bit of you when you die? How can humans manipulate their bodies, diet & emotions to change their own flavour? What are the culinary properties of human biomass, and what are the gustatory preferences of insects, microbes and other organisms that consume humans?

TFOT contains prototypes of the tools, recipes and rituals required for AUTOGASTRONOMY (the art of flavouring oneself well) and ALTERGASTRONOMY (the study of human body parts as ingredients for other organisms). The proposal includes:

  • a Moth Bar where human visitors can shed tears for thirsty moths, using specialised tools and practises if they can’t cry on cue
  • an AnthroAquaponics System where fish feed on the dead skin cells of human feet, and in turn, provide nutrients for a plant growing system which feeds humans
  • an AlterGastronomy VR room where visitors can embody a wolf devouring a jogger or a microorganism or virus exploring the human body
  • the Saprophytic Supper: 24 Hour Buffet where humans can examine the microorganisms that feast on their skin cells
  • the Fat Flavouring Lab where R&D in flavouring fat, skin, blood, sweat, and pee happens
  • the Rooftop Garden Burial site where a few lucky decomposers get to consume the remains of deceased humans.

This version of the installation features a newly released eyePhones operating system. It is Version 3.0 of the low-tech VR headset designed to help you become comfortable with the feeling of moths drinking your tears. Place your head inside the VR headset as you listen to the first-hand account of a scientist describing moths drinking his tears. Focus your attention on the moths as they flutter around your head and imagine them landing, sipping and enjoying the salt-rich liquids that surround your eyes.

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy
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 its research on the organisms and environments manipulated by human food cultures in the form of public lectures, research publications, meals and exhibitions. Since 2013 they have been joined by the artist Emma Conley (US) and collaborated with scientists, chefs, hackers and farmers in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Working between and beyond the life sciences and gastronomy the Center has been published in WIRED, Science, Nature and Gastronomica and exhibited at the World Health Organization, Kew Gardens, V&A Museum, Science Gallery and others.

Header Graphics: “To Flavour Our Tears” by Center of Genomic Gastronomy.