5 things to see at FOOD: Bigger than the Plate

March 13, 2019

Feeling hungry?

Our upcoming exhibition, FOOD: Bigger than the Plate, will take you on a sensory journey through the food cycle, to explore the pleasure and politics of what and how we eat. It traces the fascinating relationship between food and the world around us, presenting alternative food futures, from urban farming to gastronomic experiments.

The show features a variety of contemporary projects and innovative commissions, alongside 30 historical objects from our collections. A hot topic for debate, this subject hasn’t been covered by a major museum or gallery before and appears at a time where sustainability and transparency around food are topics of increasing worldwide interest.

To whet your appetite, we’ve created a video showcasing five innovative projects from this timely exhibition, which reconsider the ways we farm, trade, eat and dispose of food. These projects take a fresh and often provocative perspective on food systems and pose questions about what kind of future we want. What might it look like? And taste like?

Edible water bottle by Ooho!
Thirsty and on-the-go? Across the world, a million plastic bottles are bought every minute. Ooho! is a sustainable, edible packaging for liquids made from seaweed-extract, and is a 100% natural alternative to plastic bottles. These capsules can either be ‘eaten’ or left to degrade naturally in around 6 weeks.

Project Florence
Artist Helene Steiner’s Project Florence uses ‘talkative’ living plants to blur the borders between the artificial and natural. Her innovative combination of computer power and biology represent an initial investigation into digital interactions with our natural environment.

© Project Florence

Bovril poster, ‘Alas! My poor Brother’
The exhibition will include a section on ‘Trading’ to show how brands have changed the way we understand food. A highlight is an early marketing campaign poster for Bovril beef extract, a household name in the late 1800s, measuring almost 3-metres high!

Alas! My poor Brother, poster advertising Bovril, designed by W.H. Caffyn, 1905, UK. © Henry Caffyn/Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Planetary Community Chicken
Belgian conceptual artist Koen Vanmechelen explores biodiversity through the crossbreeding of chickens from different countries. His Cosmopolitan Chicken Project, created a collection of healthier birds that are more disease resistant than their industrial counterparts, which he continues in his latest work, Planetary Community Chicken.

Mechelse Maatiaiskana, 22nd generation Cosmopolitan Chicken Project. © Koen Vanmechelen

V&A Mushroom Farm
GroCycle’s inventive urban agriculture installation, Urban Mushroom Farm, collects waste coffee grounds to grow edible Oyster mushrooms. The mushrooms will physically grow in the gallery space throughout the exhibition, to demonstrate the idea of a circular economy.

Harvesting oyster mushrooms. © GroCycle

Food is universal, and this exhibition invites you to connect with food in new ways – making creators, chefs, artists and designers out of everyone. Join in the conversation by using the hashtag #PlateUp.

Co-curated by Catherine Flood and May Rosenthal Sloan, FOOD: Bigger than the Plate runs at V&A South Kensington from 18 May 2019 to 20 October 2019. Find out more about the exhibition.

FOOD: Bigger than the Plate

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