Feast your senses at Science Gallery’s Edible exhibition

10 Feb 2012

Walking through the Gas Bag at Edible in Science Gallery is Lily Davey from Drumcondra. Photo by Patrick Bolger Photography

Science Gallery in Dublin is venturing into food territory. The gallery has unleashed its latest exhibition, Edible, which is all about intersecting science with food and art. There’s even a live supper club featuring as part of Edible. Plus kids and adults alike are sure to adore exploring the ‘Gas Bag’, a three-metre high inflatable stomach!

Edible itself is running for the next two months. The aim, says Science Gallery, is to probe how our actions as eaters shape what is sown, harvested and consumed across the globe.

Last night, Science Gallery was a hive of activity for the opening of Edible. Over 400 guests, many of them from the food sector, naturally enough, got to sample such interactive exhibits as the live supper club. The supper club itself is the brainchild of Heather Julius from the Special Snowflake Supper Club in the US. Guests can sit at an interactive swerve-shaped table to sample the food that’s created right there in front of you by a team of chefs.

Once a fortnight during Edible, Science Gallery will have a rotating guest list of designers, chefs and artists who will host dinners for the public. The aim is to explore the relationship between food and geographical location.

But the most striking thing about the exhibit is the huge inflatable stomach resembling a bouncy castle that greets you at the start of the exhibit. Kids are sure to love this particular exhibit as they can take off their shoes and explore how the digestive system functions! Known as the ‘Gas Bag’ this exhibit was created by Andy Best and Merja Puustinen from Finland. The three-metre high inflatable stomach will actually sonically respond to your movements, as you explore its insides. Once inside the digestive system sculpture, you can throw soft items symbolising pills, bacteria and acid at each other to induce more digestive systems gurgles.

There’s also a captivating wall exhibit that explores the world community of eaters. It takes Ireland’s 4.5m eaters and looks at how we fit in terms of world consumption of particular foods, in comparison with other countries and continents. The food mural also looks at obesity.

Pictured at the launch of Edible at the Science Gallery is Julian Abraham with his exhibit Kapitan Biopunk: Fermentation Madness. Image credit: Patrick Bolger Photography

Pictured at the launch of Edible at the Science Gallery is Julian Abraham with his exhibit Kapitan Biopunk: Fermentation Madness. Photo by Patrick Bolger Photography
An exhibit that I found enthralling was all about fermentation. The exhibit, Kapitan Biopunk: Fermentation Madness was the genesis of Julian Abraham from Indonesia. Inspired by how Indonesia raise its excise duty in 2010 Abraham set about exploring the rapid increase in people brewing their own alcohol at home.

The sound installation features many larges containers fermenting different coloured liquids, from apple juice to pineapple juice.  The public can actually listen live to the fermentation process, as yeast transforms sugar into ethanol and CO2. Abraham wishes to communicate via the installation the dangers people in Indonesia are sometimes putting themselves under by fermenting their own alcohol. Sometimes the process can go wrong, resulting in methanol being created rather than ethanol. In Indonesia there have been many reported fatalities as a result of home brewing.

Another interesting exhibit was Le Whaf, the brainchild of Franco-American scientist and creator David Edwards and French designer Marc Bretillot. A large see-through cauldron transforms liquids into vapours, creating a different taste sensation when the cloud of flavour wafts into the air and settles in the glass. You can sip the cloud vapour via a type of pipette-like straw. Pioneered at Le laboratoire, a public art and design centre in Paris, the Le Whaf cauldron is due to be commercialised soon.

Diners pictured checking out the Supper Club culinary experience at Edible

Diners checking out the Supper Club culinary experience at Edible

There’s plenty to whet your senses at Edibles in Science Gallery, which is based on the Trinity College Dublin campus, over the next two months, from the Insects au Gratin, which explores the ingestion of insects, to the Disaster Pharming exhibit, developed by The Center for Genomic Gastronomy. An exhibition definitely worth checking out!

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic