FOOD HEDONISM: Was the name of one scenario generated during my internship for the Tacking Obesities project at the Government of Science’s Foresight think tank with colleague Michael Burton. During our research, we were influenced by an essay by one expert, “The potential of contributions from neuroscience and psychology for understanding and treating obesity” by Edmund T Rolls. This essay was sourced by the Foresight team detailing the psychological impacts of our hunger pains and relationship to food intake. We proposed the possibility of creating alternative taste buds that exist elsewhere on the body; could hunger be satisfied using the other senses?. Would they offer the feeling of a food, a phantom food and satisfy the hunger of an individual? Would there be spas that people would go to to immerse themselves in the feeling of healthy food, but smell the sugar and chocolate at the same time. What other sensual mash ups might this ensue? What impact would this have on diabetics?
With this in mind i find it amazing to see that Le Whif has been produced. Le Whif is a revolutionary new way of eating chocolate that you inhale. David Edwards the founder of Le Laboratoire, a new artscience center in Paris in his new book , Whiff, outlines experiments in encapsulating flavours.
“In this latest experiment, the double-Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx collaborated with the colloidal scientist Jérôme Bibette to introduce a new way of encapsulating flavors. Wishing to present these delectable capsules in an unusual way, a group of art and science college students developed with Edwards a new way of eating by aerosol, called whiffing.”
The current news topics relating to PGD and the baby born without the breast cancer gene reflects some of the work I generated during my RCA design interactions degree 2005-2007.
In particular the P-Evo Clinic:
The Personal Evolution Clinic was a scenario generated during the FORESIGHT internship I was involved in during 2006. The P-Evo Clinic is the ultimate preventative measure against our obesity epidemic. P-EVO is a development of the Family Planning Association. It offers services to would-be parents, through DNA and genomic screening, to predict genetic variants in the not-yet-conceived child. Parents can prepare for possible special requirements their unborn child may need in an obesogenic environment. The experience of a visit to the P-EVO clinic is a rare blend of religious vision, health spa and theatrical spectacle.
and The Gene Ceremony
The Gene Ceremony from the FATE INSTITUTE is a ritualistic experience that focuses on the implications of predictive gene testing on our future health susceptibility. A variety of foods act as DNA swabs to determine the likelihood of developing certain diseases or behavioural disorders. The ceremonial process ensures the experience of extracting the individuals genetic material is in line with the severity of the diagnostic information it reveals. The DNA material extracted from the jelly bone will be used by the FATE INSTITUTE to test each participant for their susceptibility to contracting Alzheimers or breast cancer in the future. The diagnosis is one part of a custom made course of future therapy provided at the holisitic institute of the Futures Association for Therapy and Entertainment.
PGD news links
The first baby in the UK tested before conception for a genetic form of breast cancer has been born. Doctors at University College London said the girl and her mother were doing well following the birth this week.The embryo was screened for the altered BRCA1 gene, which would have meant the girl had a 80% chance of developing breast cancer. link
Genetic tests that can detect a raised risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer are being offered for the first time to people without family histories of the diseases, The Times has learnt. The programme, run by University College London (UCL), paves the way for a new approach to preventive medicine involving widespread screening. It will also prompt greater demand for screening of embryos by parents who carry a defective gene and want to avoid passing it to their children. News of the programme came as Paul Serhal, medical director at University College Hospital’s Assisted Conception Unit, announced the birth of one of the world’s first babies selected to be free of a genetic risk of breast cancer. link
The birth of the first British baby genetically screened before conception to be free of a breast cancer gene was hailed yesterday as a breakthrough by doctors but raised fresh questions about the ethics of creating so-called designer babies. The baby girl grew from an embryo screened to ensure that it did not contain the faulty BRCA1 gene, which would have meant she had a 50%-85% of developing breast cancer. link
On Wednesday 17th, the government think tank, FORESIGHT, will be launching its Tackling Obesities report at the RSA, in London. Based on a 2 year project it outlines its investigations into the future of obesity in the UK, including its prediction that half the population could be obese within 25 years.
During summer 2006 I spent two months working as an intern alongside the FORESIGHT team to envision the impact of the predicted obesity epidemic over the next 50 years. I worked in collaboration with Michael Burton in the development of our scenarios which are highlighted in the images above. Each image represents a scenario based on a variety of topics relating to the many factors that contribute to the increase in obesity in the UK including food deserts, individual genetic make up, cultural stigma, built environment, education, choice etc.
Our work considered the evolution of the body in response to an overtly obesogenic environment and some proposals for tackling the problem. Our project aims to be a point of provocation informed by Foresight’s extensive consultation with leading world scientists, experts and other stakeholders in order to stimulate debate in Government as well as the general public.
More information about each scenario can be found at my website>.
Further news links related to the FORESIGHT report can be found here>