Food Hacking & DIYbio in Southeast Asia :: 08:00 PM 23/06/2011 @ TMPLAB
In 2010 after a short period of tinkering with DIYbio we created the Secret Cooks Club, a joint initiative of food and tech savvy members of Hackerspace SG and Food studies scholars from the National University of Singapore and Keio University in Tokyo. We work on various projects involving food & design in Asia: hacking rice cookers into cheap sous vide equipment for paleodieters, organizing underground restaurant, personalized dinners for people with a 23andme DNA profiles or simply doing food ethnography around Indonesian wet markets to understand and support indigenous food design. Inspired by extreme food practices our speculative design prototypes look beyond the future eating to reflect more generally on the role of design in complex systems – from farm to fork to phenotype. We want to rethink the relation between food and technology and experiment with future metabolic exchanges that are biological, technological and political at the same time. Eating represents the ultimate form of “cosmopolitics”, an ideal ground for design experiments with temporary assemblages of heterogeneous actors and forces. American fast food soliloquies, communal and family organized meals, the street-food culture of Singaporean “hawker” stalls, European restaurant enclaves for small elites and community pubs represent the complex relation between technological, political and economic systems involved in eating. These eating practices and systems are changing nowadays with the rise of social media, new scientific knowledge related to food and health but also global issues surrounding food security and justice. By studying niche communities organized around novel food and eating practices but also hacked, DIY tools for cooking, we can understand and rethink further what is at stake in today’s food politics and how to define our “social stomach”. I will show examples of projects in Asia to discuss the DIYbio & food hacking practices in the region and finish with a short workshop on how to design a personalized dinner for people with DNA (23andMe.com) profiles.
Denisa Kera (1974) is Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore where she teaches courses on interactive media design and new media theory. Her current research brings together Science Technology Society (STS) studies and interactive media design. She focuses on DIYbio movements in USA and Asia, consumer genomics services on web 2.0 and various forms of emergent “pop” biotech a citizen science projects. She has extensive experience as a curator of exhibitions and projects related to art, technology and science: ENTER3 http://www.enter3.org, “Artists in Labs” and “TransGenesis: festival of biotechnology and art” http://www.transgenesis.cz in 2006 and 2007.