What if your tax money was used to kill animals? Named "The Vegetarian Capital of Europe", the city of Ghent in Belgium spent nearly a million Euros for the humane killing of invasive geese in 2013. I stayed in Ghent to create a community with the mayoral office, scientists, chefs, ecologists, urban planners and the Belgian National Station Canvas TV to explore the clash of values between the killing of animals for our environment and the killing of animals for our foods. To bring this debate to surface, I proposed that we consume invasive species to control, rather than leaving the responsibility to governments that poison. In a town that takes pride in the values of animal-friendliness, putting the goose on the table is a tool to explore a shift in our believes and values.
Who's making our food now? In China, there is a quarter of a billion migrant workers that leaving their farmlands to manufacture our technology gadgets. As a result, food imports are at record highs. I went to live in a joystick factory in Shenzhen and persuaded factory owners to allow their workers to participate in part-time farming during downtimes. I coined this 'Farmification', to save communities of factory workers in innovation cycles. Farmification later migrated as a form of passive activism in making statements indirectly, without a voice of conflict from the doer, of being against the current wave of being over-specialized. Through Farmification, a global dialogue about how our technological demands make a real impact on the world food economy has opened.
How can stranded passengers relate to local activism? London Heathrow airport hosts a huge transient population, of more than 70 million people every year, with no connection to the stories surrounding them. Heathrow airport is built in the middle of 12th century historical villages and is planning to expand, to accommodate its growing passenger load. The villagers are proud of their heritage, such as where Charles Dickens got the name Scrooge, the invention of the English Cox apple and origin of the first Ordinance Survey. To address the conflict, I gathered the Heathrow planning historians and villagers, to produce village tours of these endangered spaces for stranded passengers using restricted historical maps and run by activists.
What if a cat parasite could make you sexy? Scientific research has found parasitic toxoplasmosis infection from cats to cause women to appear more attractive, sociable and intelligent. I studied the world of cat ladies, their expertise of the urban feline population and how their pressure from veteran bills were soaring in the recession. Felitherapy is a long-term spa treatment situated at cat ladies homes, for women interested in the parasite's effects as claimed by the media. Through a scientific interpretation of a parasitic infection in cats, a functioning service is created between cat ladies and the spa ladies to support the lifestyle of cat-keeping. However, the project pushes beyond simply challenging our attitudes towards a parasite, by probing the sacrifice of social awkwardness for the sake of achieving beauty.
Could Luddites curate wiser technologies in The Biotech Revolution? In the 1800's a community of revolutionaries called Luddites protested against the social changes imposed upon people by the introduction of factory machinery. Armed with a fake king (Ned Lud) and instruction manuals of machine destruction through songs, the legend of the Luddites became a derogatory term of anyone that opposes technological progress. 'The Biotech Revolution' is hailed as the new technological era but has in fact been an integral part of our everyday lives for a long while, controlled by large industries. In an age of makers and open source communities of The Digital Revolution, Bioluddites is a series on ongoing research and experiments with the Luddite community to reforming our relationship with technology.