Edible tickets and cheese made from celebrity bacteria…’FOOD: Bigger than the Plate’ at the V & A

London-Food RULES tomorrow-2019-film still © honey & bunny Sebastian Arlamovsky-Food-V&A

Edible tickets and cheese made from celebrity bacteria…’FOOD: Bigger than the Plate’
at the V&A in London

The Victoria &Albert presents ‘FOOD: Bigger than the Plate‘, a major exhibition exploring how innovative individuals, communities and organizations are radically reinventing how we grow, distribute and experience food.
Taking visitors on a sensory journey through the food cycle, from compost to table, it poses questions about how the collective choices we make can lead to a more sustainable, just and delicious food future in unexpected and playful ways.
To celebrate the opening (on 18 May) the V&A has realized 200 limited-edition edible tickets made from icing sugar, providing an edible beginning to this interactive exhibition.

London-Food-RULES-tomorrow-film still © honey & bunny Sebastian Arlamovsky-Food-V&A

above and cover image : ‘Food | RULES | tomorrow’, 2019, film still © honey & bunny (Sonja Stummerer & Martin Hablesreiter) / Sebastian Arlamovsky 


The V & A edible ticket. courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum

The exhibition falls at a pivotal time where food and our relationship to it are topics of increasing global interest and debate. Over 70 contemporary projects, new commissions and creative collaborations by artists and designers working with chefs, farmers, scientists, and local communities, are centered around four sections: ‘Compost’, ‘Farming’, ‘Trading’ and ‘Eating’.
Compost’ examines diverse projects that aim to create a more resilient food system by closing the nutrient loop and changing our perception of waste ; exploring bold ideas to reinvent our relationships with the landscapes, organisms and people that yield our food, ‘Farming’ presents innovative urban, open-source and social farming projects, as well as new technologies that might change how we grow and farm ; ‘Trading’ poses questions about more transparent and diverse ways of buying, selling and transporting food ; the pleasure of cooking and eating, and how a meal connects us culturally, socially and politically, are explored through projects by Ferran Adrià, Michael Rakowitz, Lubaina Himid, and Grizedale Arts among others; ‘Eating’ explores the role of the table, the challenges we face in feeding the world, and the power of deliciousness, as well as a look at scientific experiments, ingredients and recipes pushing the boundaries of cooking.


Above: Belgian conceptual artist Koen Vanmechelen has been crossbreeding chickens from different countries since 1999 through his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (CCP), creating a collection of chickens that are more resilient, live longer, and are less prone to disease than their industrial counterparts. Planetary Community Chicken continues this work, bringing new, healthier chickens to the world’s communities by pairing CCP roosters with local commercial hens globally. The aim is to produce birds that are more productive for local people, improving nutrition and biodiversity. 



above: ‘FOOD: Bigger than the Plate’, installation images, courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum

The final exhibit in the show is LOCI Food Lab by Center for Genomic Gastronomy.
This travelling food cart provides each visitor with a unique bioregional canapé based on their answers to a quiz on what food future they would like to see, with the menu developed in consultation with exhibition sponsor BaxterStorey.


above: ‘FOOD: Bigger than the Plate’, LOCI  food Lab, installation image, courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum

Running from 28-30 June, the V&A will also be involved in the Great Exhibition Road Festival, running the Museum of Food zone. This three-day festival will feature workshops, talks, behind-the-scenes tours and performances with hundreds of events over the weekend, and is organized by more than 20 museums, and other organizations based in South Kensington.
The festival marks the bicentenary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and takes inspiration from the Great Exhibition of 1851.


Carolien Niebling, The Sausage of the Future, 2014-17
Sausages were one of the first designed food items, offering a solution for making a limited supply of meat go further. Designer Carolien Niebling has teamed up with butcher Herman ter Weele and molecular chef Gabriel Serero to develop a range of creative new sausage designs that explore how we might put historic ingenuity to good use today in finding delicious but sustainable approaches to consuming protein. 

London-Merdacotta, ceramic toilet made from surplus cow manure-Giantonio Locatelli-ph© Henrik Blomqvist

Merdacotta, ceramic toilet made from surplus cow manure, Giantonio Locatelli et al.
© Henrik Blomqvist

London-Ooho-Skipping Rocks Lab-Food-bigger-than-the-plate-V&A

Skipping Rocks Lab, Ooho! edible water bottle, 2013.
Ooho! is a sustainable, edible packaging for liquids made from seaweed-extract, and is a 100% natural alternative to plastic bottles, cups, and sachets. Designed for consuming on-the-go, the capsules can either be ‘eaten’ or left to degrade naturally in around 6 weeks. Their most iconic product is an edible water bottle – which will be on display in ‘FOOD’- but the packaging can also hold other liquids like energy drinks, juice, sauces and condiments. 

London-Urban Mushroom Farm-Food-bigger than-the-plate-V&A-© GroCycle

V&A Mushroom Farm, 2019
The museum is building a mushroom farm onsite with the help of GroCycle, an innovative social enterprise based in Devon who have grown mushrooms since 2009 using sustainable and low-tech methods. Showcasing the idea of a circular economy, the V&A will grow oyster mushrooms in the gallery from used coffee grounds. The cultivated mushrooms will return to the restaurant to be served. The installation will be cultivated and farmed during the exhibition run, and challenges the notion of ‘waste’ materials, with the coffee grounds being recycled and reused.

‘FOOD: Bigger than the Plate’
Gallery 39 and North Court
18 May / 20 October 2019
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL


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