You’re invited to the year 2050. A network of scientists and engineers are working to protect nature and traditional cultures through the introduction of artificial wildlife.
Why? Because in 2020, media hype linked the source of coronavirus to the custom of eating bats in Asia. A video of a Thai food blogger eating bat soup went viral, leading to her arrest. In the name of safety, the practice was condemned. But what is it about eating bats that makes people in the West feel uneasy? And shouldn’t we try to find ways to safely preserve our traditions?
The Bat Brunch Lab researchers want to show you how their bio-engineered bats can become a superfood for humans, protect this endangered species and prevent future pandemics. Join a fictional focus group to help them understand if there’s a (super)market for their cutting-edge science. Through a series of free workshops and talks, you’ll not only find out that synthetic bats are nutritious, but also how design and science can intervene in our food systems and protect both humans and non-humans alike.
Bat Brunch Lab is part of the artistic research and development of a project by artists Kuang-Yi Ku (Taipei/Eindhoven) and Robert Johnson (London).
In this unique afternoon exploring the future of food, participants will rotate through three workshops which invite you to explore:
Health – could bat meat be a medicine of the future? How far would you go to access the health-giving benefits of bat?
Safety – what processes will we need in the future to identity poison and harmful substances in our (artificial) foods?
Culture – can we develop a ritual together to connect the ancient tradition of eating bats to the modern production of artificial bat meat?
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This event is for over 18s.
Bat Brunch Lab will be filmed and photographed. If you do not want to be filmed or photographed please let our team know and they will make sure you are not captured on camera.
— Bat Brunch Lab
Robert Johnson is a British designer with an MA in Social Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven and the founder of Studio Ficta, a creative start-up that fuses film, interactive design, and design research across anthropological, ecological, and social contexts. Working with film and interactive design, Johnson’s projects create alternative narratives using fictional writing as a design research tool, creating characters and dialogues that highlight issues surrounding social attitudes towards labour, materials, and waste streams within the circular economy.
In 2020, Johnson completed his residency at the Design Museum, London, where his project titled Fatconomy, presented fat as a valuable resource in urban society, illustrating the potential of discarded fats for the economy, material innovation and urban planning. His work on ‘fat as a new material’ was exhibited at the Tallin Architecture Biennale in 2022 and has given several key lectures at the Cooper Union in New York. the Design Museum, London and the Industrial design academy of Taiwan.
In 2022, he was awarded the design fellowship by the Royal Commission of 1851 in which he will be bringing his speculative design methods to the biofuel sectors within the U.K. focusing on the development of a future factory and cross-collaborative methods on new innovation labours from oil waste streams. His works has been exhibited at TAB 2022, Dezeen, Droog gallery, Design Week, and the Design Museum, London.
— Bat Brunch Lab
Kuang-Yi Ku lives and works both in Taiwan and the Netherlands. He is doing his Ph.D. research at Sheffield Hallam University, UK and the research topic is the interdisciplinary practice between art, design, and bioscience. He has graduated with triple master degrees with social design from Design Academy Eindhoven, dentistry from National Yang-Ming University, and communication design from Shih Chien University. He is a former dentist, bio-artist, and speculative designer. He also co-founded TW BioArt (Taiwan bioart community) to stimulate the fields of BioArt and Science+Art in Taiwan. His works often deal with human body, sexuality, interspecies interaction, and medical technology, aiming to investigate the relationships among technology, individual and environment.
Kuang-Yi Ku won Bio Art & Design Award in 2022 for the project “Atlas of Queer Anatomy”. His “Tiger Penis Project” has been awarded Gijs Bakker Award 2018, the annual prize for the best project by a graduating master’s student in Design Academy Eindhoven. He has also won the 1st prize of Taipei Digital Art Awards in 2015 with “The Fellatio Modification Project”, where he involves body modification, gender studies, queer theories, and dentistry all together. His works were featured in international medias such as New Scientist, The Huffington Post, Elephant Magazine, DAMN° Magazine, Dezeen, Designboom, VICE, Dazed Digital, Daily Mail, New York Post, and so on.
Sheffield Hallam University
Co-Commissioned by LIFT and Taipei Performing Arts Center.
Funded by ARTWAVE and the British Council as part of the International Collaboration Grants. Supported by Cockayne Grants for the Arts, a donor advised fund at the London Community Foundation. Research and development supported by Science Gallery London, part of King’s College London, and the Embassy of the Netherlands in the UK.
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