Thursday, 19 February 2015

Food and Design Today – Information or Obfuscation?

Goldbourne Road, Portobello Market, Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove, Food imagery, representation of food, Feeding the Eye
Goldbourne Road, London © VAC

From pre-millennial angst and food security scares, to the provenance and personification of our weekly provisions, Feeding the Eye examines the who, where, what, when, why and how of twenty-first century food and design.
Is design as an agent for change, championing the health of humanity? Or is it an obfuscatory tool, the handmaiden to corporate capitalism? Design is the bridge between ‘them’ and ‘us’ – it provides the typographic information on food labels, the visual enchantments of advertising campaigns and it aestheticises the unpalatable.
Feeding the Eye, investigates these designed communications through primary source visual analysis and oral history interviews with practitioners. Social, economic and political polemics are scrutinised through subject specialist journals, academic research papers and government inquiries.
We are told, ‘You are what you eat.’ Feeding the Eye debunks this myth by critically analysing the role of design in the production and representation of food. Is government didacticism and legislation for the public good? Or for the economic interests of multinational food manufacturers?
Feeding the Eye is an original exposition of the impact of design on food. Who knows what they are actually eating? Food manufacture, production and technology have obscured and abstracted food beyond recognition. From the synthetic concoctions of the laboratory and the reconfigured genomes on the nanoscale, food has been reconstructed, rebranded and redesigned. What is the role of design? Aesthetic styling or critical conscience?

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