Eating and shitting, Milan-style

Design Academy Eindhoven’s “Eat Shit” exhibition at Ventura Lambrate looks at the myriad ways our lives revolve around human waste.

“I can’t think of anything that touches us like food. It is the soul of life, a single unifier,” says food designer Marije Vogelzang, head of Design Academy Eindhoven’s fledgling Food Non Food department. At just six months in, the school’s undergraduate and first-ever food design programme is exhibiting this year at Ventura Lambrate in Milan.

With Vogelzang at the helm, the 16 students and their teachers are presenting their ongoing projects and treating the exhibition space as an educational opportunity. Projects by a select group of alumni from the past four years – including Teresa Van Dongen’s bioluminescent light installation, Ambio – are also presented.

The projects cover the full gamut of the food and faecal lifecycle and all its implications, and included:

Liquid Gold is a project that looks at urine as a resource rather than a discarded by-product. Urine can be used as fertiliser and an alternative source of nitrogen and phosphorous, which is currently mined to use in fertilisers to grow food.

Holy Crap by Pim van Baarsenis an incentive scheme to promote waste separation, awareness and recycling. Families in Kathmandu, Nepal use different coloured bags to distinguish between recyclables, with each bag earning credit to purchase services.

Mummy Shit Lab aims to reverse the hierarchy of shit and urge people to see its potential and value – through the process of mummification.

As part of the exhibition, the academy hosted a secret dinner prepared by the students, which included a menu of hard-boiled eggs (chosen because the chicken is one of the only animals that poop, pee and lay eggs out of the same hole), freshly baked bread in the shape of intestines, and a conveyer belt of delicious vegetarian mash-up that was shaped like a shit sandwich.

Watch the Talk with Marije Vogelzang