Monthly Archives: August 2013

Martian Terroir

While Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Sascha Pohflepp, and Andrew Stellitano’s electrosynthetic fruit speculates as to the edible effects of gravitational flux during the journey to Mars, other designers and artists have skipped ahead to investigate Martian terroir itself. IMAGE: Installation view, Martian terroir, Carlos Monleon-Gendall. Earlier this summer, Carlos Monleon-Gendall, exhibiting as part of the always-intriguing […]

Electrosynthetic Fruit

IMAGE: Seasons of the Void, by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Sascha Pohflepp, and Andrew Stellitano. For scientists trying to send human beings to Mars, the question of food looms large. NASA’s Advanced Food Technology Project team at Johnson Space Centre in Houston is charged with trying to design meals that will provide adequate nutrients, prevent boredom, […]

The Pickle Index

IMAGE: Two heads of whole zha cai with chilli paste; photograph by Sjschen via Wikipedia. Chinese officials, charged with moving 250 million rural farmers into cities over the next decade under the central government’s sweeping “National Plan for Promoting Healthy Urbanization (2011-20),” have developed a “pickle index” for measuring the movement of migrant workers. According […]


Between 2001 and 2005, an anthropologist, two archaeologists, and one photographer conducted a detailed observation and visual enthnography of the material culture of thirty-two middle-class Los Angeles households. The researchers, based at the Center on Everyday Lives of Families at UCLA, set out to explore how American families interact with their houses, yards, and, above all, with the mountain of stuff that they acquire:

Tutti Frutti

Bompas & Parr, the culinary magicians behind aerosolised gin-and-tonics, cake-obstacled miniature golf, and architectural punchbowls, have published a new book exploring the olfactory, aesthetic, historical, and spectacular implications of fruit salad: Tutti Frutti with Bompas & Parr and Friends. IMAGE: Two of the book’s four fruity covers, complete with peel-able sticker. I am honoured to […]

Ecology a la Carte

Hot on the heels of my menu donation to the New York Public Library comes this intriguing news story about a team of ecologists using Hawaiian restaurant menus to reconstruct long-term changes in local marine populations. The menus provided the evidence needed to trace historical ecological shifts during “a critical 45-year gap” in the state’s […]

Sewer Watch

The past week has brought two intriguing updates from London’s subterranean infrastructure of excretion. In a triumphant press release, Thames Water announced the removal of the world’s largest fatberg — a sewer-blocking, bus-sized lump of congealed cooking oil and wet wipes — from the drains under London Road in Kingston, Surrey. IMAGE: The UK’s biggest fatberg. […]

Feed Lots

IMAGE: “Coronado Feeders, Dalhart, Texas” (2013), Mishka Henner (archival pigment print, 102x122cm). British photographer Mishka Henner’s most recent work shows the astonishing and terrible beauty of two of Texas’s most valuable landscapes — its feedlots and its oilfields — from above. IMAGE: “Coronado Feeders, Dalhart, Texas” (2013), Mishka Henner (detail). Even more astonishingly, the aerial […]

Depressed Cakes

IMAGE: Misfortune cookies by Miss Insomnia Tulip. Miss Cakehead, a publicist specialising in edible stunts (why didn’t that job exist when I was in school?) has organised a network of pop-up Depressed Cake Shops, which will take over bakeries around England in August with an array of all-grey cakes. IMAGE: Black Dog macarons by Miss […]