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Photo: DAE

Metabolic Rifts; Metabolic Shifts - Gabriel A. Maher

How can we think through the body towards infrastructure? How are (our) bodies produced and reproduced across the infrastructural lines of the food system? Through this question, students can begin to consider how bodies (including their own) are positioned and organised along the supply chain. Thus, allowing them to unpack the interdependent practices and processes of food system infrastructure from the micro (individual) to the macro (transnational) and discover the ways in which they (we) are implicated in this system.

The Marxist ecological theory of the Metabolic Rift (1850s) is used as a starting point to understand the historical processes and power relations that have configured the agricultural food system to date. Subsequently, the metaphor of Metabolism is used throughout the project as a tool to think with and through as it situates the body and embodied practices of food consumption at the centre of the research.

Linking to the SDG 2 objectives, we can recognise that there is currently a Metabolic Crisis, expressed in excess flows of nutrients in the clogged arteries of heart disease, or the dried-up flows of nutrients in bodies that are malnourished.

The aim of this project is to explore embodied practices (sustenance — consumption — food habits etc) and affects in relation to food system infrastructure and the metabolic crisis. Students may consider an embodied approach as a starting point — analysis/thinking or mapping their own metabolic relationships in order to recognise their connection to infrastructure and decide on contexts, scale, case study or urgency of their research. The approach to the project is process driven rather than solution oriented. It intends to find ways of communicating, visualising and/or materialising complex relationships — in intimate, affective and tangible ways.


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Bente Meindertsma

Netherlands Food Partnership