The human body has the abilities to self-heal and self-regulate on a continual basis, but we all need food to survive. The human drive for survival and comfort has lead the world into a new epoch - the Anthropocene, also known as the Age of Man. (Steffen, Crutzen, McNeill, 2007) In this abusive age of new-nature we can no longer count on Mother Earth’s natural resources to feed the world's exploding population. (Baum, Denkenberger, Pearce, 2011)
In the Anthropocene the borders between the natural and unnatural have blurred. We have recently learned to genetically modify plants and animals, and discovered how to grow meat without the presence of a body. (Mensvoort, Grievink, 2014) Humans constantly look for new ways to produce more and better foods. Are we stuck in a progress trap (Wright, 2004) of food production? What if the way forward in these times of Dark Ecology (Morton, 2016) is not to invent new foods, but to modify the human body to begin with? Can we become self-sufficient living off our own flesh?
The “BaaR” is a concept for a wearable food device, transforming its users into food producers by culturing meat from samples of their own muscle tissue. Combining the food taboos associated with cultured meat and auto-cannibalism, the concept explores the possibility to produce an infinite amount food supply on a daily basis. As a concept the artwork expose the audience to an alternative food future, in which transgressing common feeding might be vital to ensure our survival as a species.
The project also looks at ethical and moral implications when various food taboos overlap each other. Is eating lab-grown meat ethical for vegans? Is auto-cannibalism a crime, if no harm is done to others? Are other moral considerations eliminated, if genetically modifying ourselves to reduce harm done for the environment and improve the way we co-exist with other species?