COURTESY OF ELIZABETH STILLMAN GhostFood is a project organized by The Contemporary in collaboration with Hopkins students currently enrolled in a curatorial practicum.
By VERONICA REARDON Your Weekend Columnist
GhostFood may sound like a Halloween event, but it’s not spooky for the reason that you might expect. A work of art inspired by the reality of climate change and the potential future that may come from it, GhostFood has been around Baltimore of late and was at Penn Station last Thursday. On Nov. 2, it will be here on campus (lazy/busy students, rejoice!).
Started by Miriam Simun and Miriam Songster in 2013, GhostFood operates out of a food truck. Instead of selling food, however, it is selling an idea, a way of looking at our future. GhostFood focuses on cod, peanut butter and chocolate, three foods in danger of disappearing due to global climate change. When it’s your turn to experience GhostFood, you are given an alien-looking headset and a climate-change-resilient food substitute of sorts. The headset, inspired in part by recent technology and in part by the way that insects experience the world, provides olfactory stimulation of the food you are supposed to taste, like the chocolate milk, for example. Without actually drinking chocolate milk, you feel the texture and inhale the scent. Hence, the ghost food — you experience something that is not really there.
One of the most interesting aspects of the experience for me is that our future might not be too different from this. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. When people are asked to describe it, you hear them say it was nostalgic or sad, or some just say that it was nice. It’s pretty eerie if you think about it. GhostFood is also not something that only appeals to one age group, although the young are affected the most by the topic that is linked with it. It is a project that is at least an interesting thought experiment for everyone.
Another aspect of it that I enjoy is that according to Miriam Simun, it is not necessarily a platform from which to speak about climate change. Rather it is an imagining of our future and an examination of the human experience of the world. While climate change is definitely something we should try to control, it is also already happening; It is already a part of our future.
GhostFood inspires thought about how our society will change to accommodate it rather than its amelioration, which is not often a focus of the climate change discussion. It makes sense that it hasn’t entered the discussions of activists and teachers, as treating climate change as inevitable could result in disaster. However, it is definitely something worth thinking about.
If this art piece sounds cool, you should definitely check it out when it comes to campus, as well as the panel with the artist that will follow. Miriam Simun’s past projects include human cheese, which yes, is in fact cheese made of human breast milk.
She should definitely have some interesting and relevant things to say, especially considering the angle of GhostFood.