Cooking the future: Recipes as a form of speculation

Xiaowei Wang, UC Berkeley - Geography

Toronto 2021: Performance

For this presentation as “cooking show”, I will cook three speculative dishes that examine the ways technology, power, and markets are transforming agriculture, notions of “public” in public health, and the countryside. These speculative recipes come from Audre Lorde’s sentiment, “There are no new ideas, there are only new ways of making them felt.” Recipes have evolved through time as a subversive history of technological and societal change. As measurements became standardized, as supply chains grew longer, refrigeration and shipping containers gave rise to global trade of farmed tilapia from China to the US, as women entered the workforce with less time to make elaborate dishes, recipes have captured so many changes into a visceral medium, a work of corporeal piety. The recipes I will cook are excerpted and cut from my book, Blockchain Chicken Farm: And Other Stories of Tech in China’s Countryside, are meant to provoke and think through the ways food will change in the future, and what ways of living, what kinds of technology these recipes are situated in. While some of them use yet-to-exist ingredients, such ingredients can be substituted for ones you do have, I hope they can aid you in making a meal to think through technology and power in embodied ways, and provide some quarantine reflection.

Published: 01/30/2023