Insect pate, cheese cultured from bacteria, mushrooms grown out of wasted coffee grounds – these innovations were presented at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum’s Food: Bigger Than the Plate exhibition, which ran from May to October.
In January 2020, the show will travel to Dubai for the eighth edition of Quoz Arts Fest.
Over the years, art galleries, cultural spaces and concept stores have found their homes in the neighbourhood of Al Quoz. The annual event Quoz Arts Fest, organised by Alserkal Avenue, helps to highlight these spaces through art exhibitions, performances, workshops and film screenings.
Themed ‘In Search Of…’, the festival’s 2020 edition will be its biggest to date, featuring more than 60 artists, performers and thinkers from around the world.
The V&A Museum’s show is one of the highlights of the programme. For its London iteration, the exhibition offered a multi-sensory experience that probed the importance of food in society, and considered how mankind’s relationship to food can be more sustainable. Featuring 70 contemporary projects, the show brought together chefs, farmers, scientists, artists and designers that are developing innovations in alternative food, farming and gastronomic experiments. These were shown alongside food-related objects and artworks, including food ads and illustrations, from the museum’s collection.
Split into four sections, it will show the compost-to-table cycle of food production and consumption.
In the first section, social enterprise GroCycle presented their Mushroom Farm installation, presenting ways to rethink the concept of waste by using discarded coffee grounds to grow mushrooms. Under the Farming section, artists Fallen Fruits have created a site-specific wallpaper for the museum, which draws from the V&A's horticultural history.
For the Eating section, new ingredients are explored in Carolien Niebling's The Sausage of the Future, a conceptual project that looks at the possibilities of developing sustainable food culture by using ingredients such as insects, nuts and legumes. There's also Ooho!'s edible water bottle made from seaweed extract and meant to tackle the problem of plastic bottle waste. The capsules can be eaten and degrade naturally in a period of six weeks.
Quoz Arts Fest 2020 will also present a concert by Jordanian-Palestinian band 47Soul, which fuses dabke music with synth and electronic beats. The band has produced its own sound called Shamstep, a combination of a Levantine folk music and dubstep.
At The Courtyard Playhouse, the neighbourhood’s performing arts centre, visitors can participate in live drawing workshops. Local theatre The Junction will present the Short+Sweet Theatre Festival, the world’s largest 10-minute play festival. Photography enthusiasts can join a photo walk of the industrial area with Gulf Photo Plus, and attend a cyanotype workshop in their space. African contemporary art gallery Akka Project is putting together an exhibition titled Africa & the other 54 Countries: Focus on South Africa, which highlights the art, culture and cuisine of South Africa.
Returning for its sixth edition, The Reel Palestine Film Festival will screen independent and arthouse films produced by Palestinian filmmakers, while Sima Dance Company will present Ansaf, a contemporary dance number that explores themes of conflict and displacement in the Arab world.
Quoz Arts Fest is free and open to the public, and will take place from January 24 to 25.