The Art of Science: Ghost Food

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Is “Ghost Food” the food of the future? Climate change threatens our continued ability to harvest many of the foods we take for granted now. So will we simply say goodbye to the tastes of today, or find ways to replicate them with technology? An innovative art project takes a look at one possibility.

GhostFood, created by Miriam Simun and Miriam Songster of STEAMworkPHILLY, along with the Monell Center and NextFab Studio, is a participatory installation based on the concept of a food truck. The GhostFood truck, which debuted in Philadelphia this month and then traveled to New York City and Newark, NJ, serves substitutes for chocolate, peanut butter and cod, three foods at risk from climate change.

The “ghost foods”, made of climate-change resilient ingredients (including algae and vegetable protein), are meant to look like the real thing. But the flavor is delivered via a mask with a fragrance bulb which delivers the scent of the real food as you eat the substitute. The combination is not supposed to exactly replicate the experience of eating the original food, but give participants a sense of what that experience might be like in the future, when the “real” food is just a memory.

It sounds a little sad, but who knows? It might work. Lots of people who have given up meat prefer tofurky to plain tofu, so why not fish-scented algae instead of plain? In any case, it’s an interesting experiment that combines practical responses to climate change with leaps of artistic imagination.

More information about the project is here.

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2 responses to “The Art of Science: Ghost Food

  1. Very, very clever concept. Glad it is the ‘future’ and not the present.

  2. It sound depressing to us, but it’s funny that this kind of thing was enthusiastically embraced as the way of a bright future by 50’s SF authors. Not sure if that was a common attitude in the 50’s, or just the attitude of the socially maladjusted nerds who wrote SF then.

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