TASTE OF NOTHING
Whether working as a creative director of a food theatre, launching mock pop-up restaurants in his native Copenhagen, or touring the world with his culinary experiences, Lindegaard has always hovered towards the experiential and is pushing this further with the exhibition concept for ‘Taste of Nothing’.
Inspired by reflections on the eventual consequences of terroir-free and uniform food production, often moted as being environmentally sustainable, Lindegaard helped to explore what will happen to us once the only variations we experience are variations controlled by us?
Started with the offer of the world’s best cocoa, the audience was invited into a setting that both caters to each visitor’s sense of being special and unique. Being served, or choosing not to, is only the first of experiences that toke also part in made-up narratives that underpin our enjoyment of everyday products, as seen in the croissant and flower experiences. A grow room of plants, highlighting the taste differences produced by terroir was flanked by a sensory experiment and a video experience.
Lindegaard also explores the impact of when a product or experience is less physically accessible in both a sound installation, as well as a dinner party. The dinner is centered on the serving of a steak that doesn’t exist other than printed with 3D likeness on each dinner plate. All the food served, however, is based around the accouterments that normally surround a steak.
A particular element of our craving for experiences is whether we can even gain access to them. This exhibition also contained one such element promising a fuller experience, a deeper intake of the exhibition, contact with its maker, and much more, but for an extra cost.
Our enjoyment and consumption of food are not only reliant on its reputation, history, or flavour. It is equally reliant on our familiarity and connection with it. The memory of the flavour of our childhood favourite foods exerts such power over our memories that even mediocre food appear unattainable to copy to the same glory in the present.
Reversely all new foods have to pass muster in terms of how we consume them. Different techniques can be necessary to learn, while new flavours and textures need to be accepted on an experiential level. In this regard, the cotton balls showed how easy or how difficult it can be to reach a point where we feel comfortable with our food on a physical level.
However, the further consequences of some of these also need to be considered. When we are offered the perfect steak or burger product, made from vegetable sources, then who decides on their flavour? Who decides what is the right one? And is a flavour always consistently good or do our global tastes change over time? How does a limited range of flavours influence us physically? How do they change us emotionally?
These are all questions we have never really had to consider in deeper earnest and now we do. Because while the ultimate environmental footprint of food can be measured and quantified and so guide us away from those produces that demand unreasonable amounts of resources. Then how do we deal with an eventual loss of flavour when meats and other products that historically have relied on their individual circumstances, environment, breeding, and handling become uninformed and limited to only a few flavours? What happens when all the pea shoots taste the same and not of the terroir and their amount of environmental exposure?