EATME: Humanplings (2023)

UK / 2023
Royal College of Art

In light of the imminent threat posed by a global population that could soon exceed our capacity to sustainably feed itself and considering the inherent animal rights issues and environmental problems stemming from traditional animal farming, it is imperative that we reevaluate our relationship with food, population, and resources. This pivotal juncture demands our exploration of untapped resources, which could even include our own bodies, as potential sources of sustenance for the future.

EATME proposes a self-sufficient approach that would enable individuals to sustain themselves by cultivating and cooking in-vitro human meat, thereby replacing our current, resource-intensive methods of meat production.

While it is feasible to employ human tissue and serum as resources for cultivated meat, deeply rooted cultural taboos surrounding cannibalism significantly influence our acceptance of such a concept. I am endeavoring to create a innovative form of cannibalistic culture, drawing inspiration from the unsettling folklore of ancient China, which includes horrifying recipes for human flesh dumplings. Importantly, this innovative cannibalistic culture is not predicated on harming people but seeks to challenge societal norms and explore the potential of cellular agriculture technology to address the ethical, environmental, and sustainability issues associated with traditional meat production.

To achieve this, I have chosen to preserve the traditional method of making dumplings but have combined it with cellular agriculture technology to cultivate meat using my own muscle cells. Additionally, I have created the setting of a laboratory-kitchen to perform the entire process, from cultivating my own cells to cooking and ultimately eating these “humanplings”. This unconventional approach forms an autophagy cycle and prompts us to question our existing food production paradigms.

Please check out the entire process in action in this video: