PERFECTION Exhibits

21.06.19 – 06.10.19

MORPHOTEQUE #15

MORPHOTEQUE #15

DRIESSENS & VERSTAPPEN | Netherlands

2011

WOULD YOU EAT THESE?

Crops that are cultivated for large-scale food production have been selectively bred to produce increasingly large and regular-shaped foods. While the natural process of evolution usually engenders multiformity and diversity so that a species remains strong and adaptive, industry manipulates the process as much as possible in a direction of efficiency, uniformity and homogeneity. The ideal potato is now oval-round, the ideal carrot is straight, not curved, and the ideal pepper is perfectly symmetrical. Vegetables that do not meet the set standards cannot be sold to consumers, so we rarely see any deviations from these ‘perfect’ forms at the supermarket. We typically associate ‘imperfection’ with disease, degeneration and ugliness. Morphoteque #15 reflects the human urge for ‘perfection’ through standardisation, by conserving rejected peppers and highlighting the natural diversity within a species.

ABOUT

Driessens & Verstappen jointly develop a multifaceted body of work, which includes software, machines and objects. Sources of inspiration include the complex dynamics of all kinds of physical and chemical processes and the genetic-evolutionary system of organic life that continuously creates new and original forms. Driessens & Verstappen have exhibited at a.o. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam, Neue Pinakothek München, Science Gallery Dublin and Eyebeam New York. Their work was awarded first prize at VIDA in Spain in 2002 and the 2013 dutch Art+Technology Award.

CONNECT

Deeper Dive

Anna Davies

Professor of Geography, Trinity College Dublin

Perfectly Imperfect

The assumption that the drive for uniformity in the food we eat comes from some universal human aesthetic ideal of perfection needs to be unpacked. Our consumption choices are not matters of absolute free will and our eating patterns are prejudiced not only by individual tastes, societal norms and cultural bias, but also by our economic systems. The mass marketing and advertising messages about the kinds of food which are good to eat are not determined by some fixed metric of beauty, nor are they entirely about flavour, function and nutrition. Rather, they are shaped by a global food industry focused on profitability, efficiency, calculability, and control. What are the costs of the ‘perfect’ food we are sold? Consequences are increasingly being shown to directly harm humans, animals and the environment. A redefinition of perfect food, elevating taste and diversity, sustainability and justice over profit, is required. This is not about eating or not eating wonky produce, it is about recognising the wonkiness of our broken food system where a third of all food grown is lost or wasted and where a billion people globally are hungry.

Anna Davies is Professor of Geography, Environment and Society at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, where she directs the Environmental Governance Research Group. Widely published in the fields of environmental decision making and sustainable development, Anna is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the International Science Council. She advises government through her membership of Ireland’s National Climate Change Advisory Council and is a Board Member of the European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production, a founding member of Future Earth’s Knowledge Action Network (KAN) on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production and is on the Board of The Rediscovery Centre in Dublin, Ireland’s National Centre for the Circular Economy and a creative space connecting people, ideas and resources for greener living in Ireland.