above: "human cheese with pasture in the background"
artist miriam simun is developing a system for sourcing, creating, and distributing human cheese. simun neither condemns nor supports her redesign of the cheese industry (which, by the way, isn't particularly healthy) but, rather, views her work as a vehicle for discussion about what is "natural". her "sweet airy equity" cheese is made from the milk of a slightly overweight mother in Midtown whose diet is rich in sweets. when you think about it like this, how ethical is eating cheese, anyway? would you consume the milk of a festively plump lady from midtown?
read an excerpt of her didactic statement, below.
By serving human cheese, I ask people to make a decision: to eat, or not to eat. Facing the decision to ingest materializes the technological and ethical issues at hand, going beyond our rational senses to appeal to our visceral and instinctual humanness.
In doing so, I hope to engage discourse about what we eat, who we are (evolving to be), and what kind of future we want. In serving human cheese, I pose a number of questions:
As we navigate the complex landscape of technologically modified food production, how do we understand what is natural, healthy, ethical? If we reject all technologically modified food in favor of what is ‘natural,’ how far back to do we go? If we are to welcome new technologies into our lives, how will we continue to redefine what is natural, normal and healthy? How will this change our relationship to each other, the natural world and ourselves? If we are determined to continue to enjoy our cheese, perhaps it is most natural, ethical and healthy to eat human cheese? And if not, what other biotechnological processes does this force us to reconsider?