Eat Shit by D.A.E @ Salone Milan 2015

Eat Shit by D.A.E @ Salone Milan 2015

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Design Academy Eindhoven presented “Eat Shit” at the Salone del Mobile – the first exhibition of the new department Food Non Food, directed by Marije Vogelzang

The food design course ( 18 students and teachers ) is still in its infancy, with its first batch of students just 6 months into the Foof Non Food course after completing their first year at DAE doing the compulsory General design year before selecting a more specialised stream of studies.


student accommodation on site for DAE Eat Shit Milan 2015

The Food Non Food department, together with artist and designer Jan Konings, moved as one to Milan for the whole Salone week setting up its exhibition / work & living headquarters in Zona Ventura, where a large workshop gathered a faceted and ambitious exploration of food policies under the single provocative title “Eat Shit” = part exhibition, part public laboratory format.

The Faculty shared their projects concerning contemporary food culture, and also explored the necessary relationship between education and exhibition.

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With a reputation for presenting beautifully conceived conceptual work rooted in rigorous research, the Academy will show the work of the 18 students that comprise the first class of the Food Non Food program as well as a selection of projects from alumni.

Eat Shit is designed to showcase the ethos of the Food Non Food program, the world’s first undergraduate bachelor of arts degree program offered in food design, which, “so far has little to do with cooking and everything to do with systems, rituals and materials,” notes DAE’s creative director Thomas Widdershoven.

Half the world is underfed, half the world is overfed,” added Widdershoven. ” Those really obvious things make you want to think about food again and work on it.”

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When Thomas asked me to help with this exhibition I started to think about how I wanted this exhibition to immediately show that Food Non Food is not about cooking or making beautiful food on a plate.

Food Non Food is about the full scope of food and all it’s implications. It’s about biology, energy, psychology, sociology, culture, rituals, science, waste, logistics and politics.

Isn’t it fascinating how we try to distance our self from this most basic human feature? I feel there’s also a relation to how we are distanced from our food as well.

What better way to make this clear than by taking the ultimate non food: shit.

Without food, there’s no shit. And without shit there’s no food.

Everybody eats, everybody shits.

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Nothing deserves our attention more than food – it binds us, it fuels us, and the myriad of issues concerning its production, distribution and consumption touch on some of humanity’s most fundamental problems.

‘Eat Shit’ is a definition of the human condition. You eat, you shit, you eat, you shit, and then you die.

Food is life. Input leads to output. So it makes sense to also examine one of foods stinkiest consequences – shit and waste.

Shit is your print-out, the great revealer of a person’s health and culture.

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The exhibition has been designed to present the breadth and attack of the Design Academy Eindhoven’s new Food Non Food department.

Shit from this vantage point is the connector – it links food to non food and sets the tone for the department which at least so far has little to do with cooking and everything to do with systems, rituals, and materials.

‘Eat Shit’ also embraces subjects like resources and waste. Shit – technically speaking – is a valuable resource that sits at the beginning and end of the food chain.

But shit can also be the discards created by a contemporary fast and consumer lifestyle – discards that have a devastating effect on the natural environment.

‘Eat Shit’ is an expression of anger, an insult flung in protest at an opponent about inequality, unfairness or corruption.

They fuse designer and public who together embark on the final step of the design process – interpreting and realizing work in a more political, economic and social sense.

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The Eat Shit Project asked, how, where and why we eat ?

This spawned a group of projects on the full cycle of the contemporary food culture: from production to consumption and the final phase: producing waste and excrement

The complex theme was addressed from all possible angles.

Marije Vogelganz … ” We’ve had students working on researching intimacy through feeding and exploring the future scenario of digesting grass (cellulose) like cows are able to, with an external stomach. 

One student made a fermenting-manifesto and considered fermenting as a political act.

Another student designed a ritual and situation to give attention and care to hospitalized people by cultivating the act of making a peanut butter sandwich.

There was a design for an alternative burial of a dead body, research into the relation between our body size and the size of what we eat through bread and ceramics, research into turning all foods into powder and a future scenario of what the world would look like if we would erase all food culture and get food from a ‘food-tap’ in your house.

There were many more very interesting ideas. The students have genuine creative minds and frequently come up with surprising links and ideas.

The other tutors: Arne Hendriks and Mara Skujeniece also help them to stretch their brains even further.

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The show’s topic – the human digestive system.

Inside, a range of projects investigating both ends of the human digestive system explored the processes involved in producing the food we eat and the repulsion typically felt to the excrement created from it.

I was surprised that there was so little focused on and attention for the importance of food as a substance [prior to the course,” said course tutor Arne Hendriks …  “You have all these schools of people designing chairs and you have hardly any people thinking on a high level about food distribution on a designer level.”

Our students are not food designers in the sense that they want to make beautiful food,” he continued. “They know that food is one of the most important topics for contemporary society to really look at.”

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jonas Ersland, Clara Montrieul, Clara Escalera ‘Poop Reactor

Design Academy Eindhoven has done more to codify our expectations of design than any other institution.

But even this pioneering school has recently admitted that it is in danger of being left behind by the dominance of technology and food in contemporary discourse.


The projects cover the full gamut of the food and faecal lifecycle and all its implications, and included –

1) presenting the work of the program, and

2) exploring facets of a cyclical life cycle (shit is both at the beginning and end of our food chain),

3) reviewing resources and waste in our consumption economy, and

4) highlighting the indignity one feels when the phrase is uttered in the face of “inequality, unfairness or corruption.”


Student Marketing / Promotions around Milan

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The students ran an advertising campaign to drum up interest for the show.

Armed with caulking guns and a giant plastic backpack in the shape of a perfect poo, designers  Maartje Slijpen and Merel Witteman served up a crostini topped with a swirl of chocolate ganache to unsuspecting visitors.

caulk guns

eat shit promotion girls

They also employed guerrilla marketing tactics by targeting the billboard campaigns of brands such as Ikea with “eat shit” stickers.

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sticker at via clerici, milan

poster at ventura lambrate station

poster at ventura lambrate station


Official Opening of EAT SHIT, Milan

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I can’t think of anything that touches us like food. It is the soul of life, a single unifier,” says food designer Marije Vogelzang, head of Design Academy Eindhoven’s fledgling Food Non Food

I hope that visitors can see the full scope of the possibilities that food and design (eating design) can create.

I hope that visitors can see the value of designers working with food and that they can see what an exciting new field of design this is and how the food world needs creative minds.

I hope that other designers will start to realize that food and design is a serious subject and a subject with huge potential—food is just the most important material in the world.


Official Project Launch Lunch

Lunch with Ministry of Education, Culture and Science

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Student Project Exhibitions



Timed with the launch of DAE’s undergraduate food design program and the upcoming Milan Expo—food-themed World’s Fair hosted in Milan—Eat Shit is the school’s first official foray into the murky waters of food design.

Eat Shit, explored the taboos and processes surrounding feces, material waste and political name-calling in a dynamic show of graduate student projects and undergraduate works in progress.

Curated by Marije Vogelzang, over 400 projects relating to food and waste from the academy’s history from 1976-2015 were detailed in a timeline around the wall of the exhibition space and a number of graduate projects were also on show ( incl Teresa Van Dongen’s bioluminescent light installation, Ambio above )

The works in progress from the inaugural Food Non Food program give the exhibition a dynamic energy that is atypical for DAE’s Milan presentation.

We launched this department because food and all its myriad associations have always been a part of the academy’s DNA.

Jason Page’s 2014 graduation project, which digitalized our archive making complete themes easily accessible, beautifully communicates this.

His timeline of food related projects forms the center-piece of the exhibition, which covers everything from eating and excreting to recycling and protesting.

So the students might be in their second year but they are accompanied by graduation work and a strong heritage within the academy’s history.


Inside Room 1

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Inside Room 2

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embroidered food project by rufus mooma

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The topics of food and design have not just recently appeared in projects of Design Academy Einhoven students.

Focusing on those projects Jason Page studied all DAE graduation catalogues starting from 1976 and created a long timeline that can be studied at the exhibition.


The very first project that he discovered (by Frans Broers) deals with cutlery for handicapped people.

As many other subtopics also this one pops up again and again: so in 1993 (adressed by Mick Rijnders, focusding mostly on people with rheumatism), in 2000 (by Palmi Einarsson, focusing on amputees for children) and in 2012 (by Mickael Boulay who with his set of cutlery aims to “enable the disabled” by helping them to develop their motor skills

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Student Projects Featured

Room 1

3D Ceramics printer

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Olivier van Herpt’s 3D printer was developed to print ceramic objects, controlling such a delicate and natural material as clay, formed of biological sediments.

His 3D Ceramics Printer (2014) is a technological innovation that extrudes food-safe clay to create objects—tableware and vessels—at human scale.

cd printing clay

Van Herpt’s ‘3D Ceramics Printer’ is a phenomenal project with solid research that captures this circular rhythm of life.

Clay, which is earth and decomposed organic matter, is also a very tactile and personal material.

Widdershoven argues that “ while a designer makes and then identifies with clay, a person makes and then identifies with poo—internal evidence of an external mood.

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Van Herpt dealt with the limitations of 3D printing technology head-on by coming up with a machine as well as a process that made it possible to print medium and large-scale domestic objects from ceramics.

He spent two years designing his printer which can be programmed to move in a particular pattern, but also the extruder can be programmed to stop and start.

This means the clay can be controlled and do so much more than just ‘excrete’ in one continuous line – a typical limitation of current 3D technology.

I like how this machine deals with clay, which is really just decomposed biological material and river sediment. As a material, clay ends up becoming very personal.

A designer works and moulds it and eventually comes to identify with the result.

In a similar way, a human being identifies with his or her poo – we could even go so far as saying that while a designer makes and then identifies with clay, a person makes and then identifies with poo – internal evidence of an external mood.

It is, after all, always about identifying with a creative process


Grasping Smell

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Elusive and invisible, smell is hard to pin down.

Mickaël Wiesengrün goes a step further and captures something even more intangible – the smell of the past.

Working with renowned chemist, nose and artist, Sissel Tolaas, he reintroduces the industrial odours such as grease, metal and sweat that once pervaded a former Philips light bulb factory in 1930s Eindhoven.

The installation, Révélateur, adds context with pungent hints of the past.

Smell becomes a visual form as fascinating as the scent diffused.

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Room 2


Playing Food

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Tomm Velthuis’ set of wood blocks to teach children about factory farming.

Parents traditionally teach their children not to play with their food.Tomm Velthuis now adds a playful, confrontational twist to this classic parenting mantra.

Hoping to cultivate a better understanding of where the food on our plates comes from, he designed a toy farm highlighting the unsustainable reality of the meat industry.

The wooden set, called Playing Food, comes complete with 200 pigs, the enormous amounts of food required to fatten them up, the trees that must be cleared for feed crops, and the acid rain caused by the pigs’ manure.

It’s factory farming packaged as an ‘innocent’ childhood toy. The message is unmistakable.

tomm velthuis


Landscape Machines

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What is the perspective for the future of rural areas as we move into a post-industrial era?

Zeno Franchini’s project deals with understanding the complexity of issues involved in redesigning a territory. The study identifies those technologies and practices which define the landscape and constitute the identity of the people living there – here called ‘landscape machines’.

These ‘machines’ represent what is left of local folk craft traditions and technological innovations.

The interaction with the local people proposed here should create a productive dialogue on current issues.

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Through their knowledge of a marginalized culture, we can trace not only the roots of our culture, but also the possibility of a different one. Involving those who inhabit this landscape is fundamental: it creates a form of participation that is not made by a designer.

It is the other way around: a recognition of the environment in all its complexity, and true participation in rural development.


Invisible Life

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Raya Stefanova hopes to bring microorganisms back into our lives.

We are becoming too clean. By scrubbing away the natural microorganisms around us, we are disrupting the balance of organisms in and on our bodies. This is being linked to allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases and obesity.

Her abstract shapes made of pressed soil release microbes through airborne dust, as does soil scattered onto porous stone vessels.


Holy Crap

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Recent DAE graduate Pim van Baarsen’s project ‘Holy Crap’ rethinks the horrendous waste problems in Kathmandu, Nepal where rubbish is dumped in landfill or in rivers and even burnt.

‘Holy Crap’ is a new business model that encourages citizens to separate their waste at home, be more engaged with where it ends up, and to benefit financially as an incentive.

Dealing with the subject at hand, Pim van Baarsen’s “Holy Crap” is a system for recycling waste in Kathmandu, Nepal. Families in Kathmandu, Nepal would use different coloured bags to distinguish between recyclables, with each bag earning credit to purchase services.

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He also displayed a prototype for an app that could engage citizens in responsibly disposing of waste and a branded tricycle that would transport recyclable waste.

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demonstrating the app to thomas widerhoven and a press member


Limbo Embassy

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With the In Limbo Embassy project, Manon van Hoeckel acts as a spokesman for the silent plight of all refugees refused asylum (extreme rejects of today’s society).

The project ‘In Limbo Embassy’ by Manon van Hoeckel looks at society’s outcasts – asylum seekers who have no legal identity and who are not and cannot be represented by any embassy.

These are legal nobodies with a lost sense of belonging. Their realities, embraced as the tales of individual human beings rather than simple newspaper headlines, are truly tragic.

Even the title of the project communicates an enormous life problem.

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The designer proposes the blanket-symbol of refugee camps, worn with proudly and regally, the refugees’ thoughts (which will be collected in a book) and a small mobile embassy as ways for people to regain their dignity.

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In Limbo Embassy is a traveling embassy for and by asylum seekers ‘in limbo’: those who are caught between two stools.

These refugees, acting as ambassadors, invite visitors to talk about their situation. Refugees often do not feel represented by their own embassy or by the media.

In Limbo Embassy is a neutral meeting place that travels to people, creating direct contact between citizens and asylum seekers.

The mobile embassy provides the opportunity for dialogue, debate and cultural exchange on an equal footing.

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limbo embassy

In the pictures, these asylum seekers look regal, almost powerful. These people have lost all political power, but they are beautiful and strong with an air of genuine dignity.

Even the way the blanket – a typical symbol of homelessness and poverty – is folded shifts the meaning of the symbol.

Widdershoven … “Another reason I find this project so important is that it best captures my perspective on the Design Academy Eindhoven’s vision on education. At our school we train designers to connect to the world around them – we want them to remain engaged at all times, but we want them to do that optimistically.

Change is urgent, but our students are not tasked with solving all problems, they are tasked with designing alternatives. From there it is society, the public and you who is tasked with making the next move.

Which is why exhibitions like the Salone del Mobile are so vital.”


The Victoria Project

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Laura van Os has developed the first ecological pesticide against the Varroa mite, the arch enemy of bees.

This parasite is currently combated using a chemical oxalic acid: effective against the mite, but in the long run, bad for the bees and the environment.

Van Os has tried to find a more friendly option that would be equally effective, and has found it in rhubarb, specifically the Victoria variety of it.

She has studied the best way to extract and thicken it and has experimented with pressing, blending, boiling and freeze-drying.

The results come in elegant little ampules which beekeepers can order through her website.

It has been established that VICTORIA is harmless to bees. Whether it will permanently wipe out the mite remains to be seen, but the initial results are promising.


Popcorn Monsoon

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A more playful approach appears in Jolene Carlier’s Popcorn Monsoon and a transparent-glass machine mixing three different smells.

This machine by Dutch designer Jolene Carlier spurts popcorn from the end of a glass tube into a bright yellow bowl when the snack is ready to eat.

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Mummy Shit Lab

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“Mummy Shit Lab” creates an industrial process where the human body is a material supplier.

In a project called Mummy Shit Lab, the students assigned themselves the roles of poo-producer, refiner and enhancer.

The producer followed a strict diet and exercise regime for the duration of the project, and produced samples of excrement that were examined by the refiner, then freeze-dried and preserved in disks of epoxy resin by the enhancer.

The team hoped that by presenting the process, they could help themselves as well as visitors overcome the instinctive feeling of revulsion towards faeces.

“The essence of mummification is the beauty of something transitory and displeasing like death being given an extension of its time in a beautiful, glorified way,” said Shaakira Jassat. “After working on this project, every time I flush my shit away, it feels like a funeral – a goodbye to something I really find value in now.”

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Projects Shown Outside


Pigeon Poo Tower

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Course tutor Arne Hendriks created a dovecote made from bricks of pulped newspaper.

Hendriks’ Pigeon Poo Tower was recreated on site. “It’s like a five star hotel for pigeons,” said Hendriks.

Hand shredding newspapers to create paper bricks, Hendriks proposes to redefine our relationship with the humble pigeon by building a tower to house the birds, collecting their valuable poop for natural fertilizer.

The Pigeon Poo Tower was designed as a prototype for how city-dwellers could use the resources around them to fertilise and produce their own crops, while providing the urban bird population with homes.

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Make Bread not Chairs

belly project

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Merle Bergers, Yildau ter Beek, Alex Genis, ‘Digesting Stories


Loaves of intestine-shaped bread were produced on site to fuel the diet in a project called Make Bread Not Chairs.

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Listen to Your Belly

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listen to your belly

Yildau ter Beck’s project covers how we all relate to our belly in our own way. Sometimes it’s too full, sometimes it’s too empty.

It makes sounds, it hurts, or it tells us that we’re stressed or in love. Each belly has his own story, but also all together they can tell you something.

The paintings can be used to reflect on people and how they relate to their body, to others and the outside world.

How they digest physical and mental matter.


Liquid Gold

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Liquid Gold is a project that looks at urine as a resource rather than a discarded by-product.

Urine can be used as fertiliser and an alternative source of nitrogen and phosphorous, which is currently mined to use in fertilisers to grow food.

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E Chromi Poo Project

designacademy department heads Ilse Crawford and Oscar Pena get a closer look at Daisy Ginsberg's poo projec

design academy department heads Ilse Crawford and Oscar Pena get a closer look at Daisy Ginsberg’s poo project

Daisy Ginsberg is an artist and designer currently exploring the frontiers of possibility in the emergent field of synthetic biology.

To showcase the nascent field’s unpredictable future, she pointed to E. Chromi, a bacteria that she and a handful of Cambridge students genetically programmed to secrete colorful pigments when it comes into contact with designated toxins.

Think bacteria that could change color to expose contaminants in groundwater, air pollution in cloud cover — perhaps most strikingly, it can even change the color of your poop if it comes into contact with toxins in your digestive system.

Design objects are static. Designed biology has its own agenda which is no agenda,” says Daisy Ginsberg

As she noted in her talk, “it’s important for artists and designers to work to communicate how synthetic biology stands to shape our world — otherwise, we may barely notice these radical changes in our everyday lives until the day that Google starts making clouds turn red.



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A porta-loo with planted flowers, to enhance the ambience around the cubicle occupant

toilet 2

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Clean Feet  / Pure Water

foot washing

The results of foot washes offered upon entry to visitors to Eat Shit

dirty feet dirty water


Harvesting Transgression

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A field practice to turn soil contamination into a resource.

This research project by Giacomo Piovan focuses on soil, pollution, plants and on the opportunities that the relationship between these elements gives to our everyday lives.

People are not completely aware of the fact that a concentration of heavy metals in the soil has carcinogenic consequences for humans and is also destructive for the ecosystem. In this sense, soil contamination is a form of invisible pollution.

As a designer this observation sparks my curiosity about the processes constituting these elements, which are both vital and toxic for humankind. Accordingly, I propose to use soil pollution as a topic in creating awareness in our society.

Besides the functional benefit of cleaning the pollution, this thesis project suggests a scenario for using it as a resource. The remediation system opens a dialogue between man and nature, creating a new economical model able to address the presence of soil pollution.

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Bio Art Laboratories

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The DAE collaborated with BIO ART hroughout ‘Eat Shit’ enabling our student designers to become better acquainted with some of the most cutting edge biotechnological materials.

The BioArt team has coached students towards a better understanding of new techniques and how these materials can be adopted in design.

For the Food Non Food department this will really help to define the way forward.


The Invisible Visible

bio art

Swabs of personal belongings and finger prints were collected by a group of students in a project called Invisible Visible.

Cultures of the bacteria present were then grown in petri dishes and used to map the types most prevalent in residents of different countries.

Operating on the crossover of art, science and nature, BioArt Laboratories takes exploring and experimenting to the next level.

BioArt also involves the broader society in these developments.

Based on your culture, millions of bacteria have taken habitat on your hand. By culturing these bacteria we expose patterns and make the invisible visible.

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Please leave your fingerprint behind in the ideal breeding ground based on agar-agar. Approximately one in three cultures will successfully cultivate. This process takes three days. So come back in three days and see what was actually on your hands.

If you really don’t want to know what’s on your hands but are interested in the experiment? Stick your pen, keys or a coin in the agar-agar, and it will do the trick just fine.

Don’t hold back and make the invisible visible!

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Food Curators

poo chart

In the exhibition gardens, Food Curators set up a food factory to serve breakfasts and lunches of savoury and sweet “sausages” made from mulched rice pudding and couscous.


Infinite Sausage machine

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Work on food and food production was also on display

Lucas Mullie took part in Eat Shit, presenting the Infinite Sausage, a food-producing machine that will provide dinner within the exhibition courtyard.

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Lucas Mullie served guests a meal from his “Infinite Sausage” machine, a contraption that presses and extrudes ingredients to make a block of food, perfect for portioning.

On today’s lunch menu: cous cous with apple and raisins, bulgur with roast vegetables and rice with red cabbage.

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Food Bar

food bar

food bar

food bar 2

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Secret Dinner

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As part of the exhibition, the academy hosted a secret dinner prepared by the students, which included a menu of hard-boiled eggs (chosen because the chicken is one of the only animals that poop, pee and lay eggs out of the same hole), freshly baked bread in the shape of intestines, and a conveyer belt of delicious vegetarian mash-up that was shaped like a shit sandwich

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secret dinner

secret dinner

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Food Non Food – Talks Programme

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Eat Shit unfolded by inspirational graduates, design critics and curators of the show.

Designers design for people. Food is at the heart of what people need, and it is something that binds us all. It is energy in the broadest sense.

Major problems such as far-reaching industrialisation, animal welfare, bee mortality and obesity have given the subject of food an increased urgency


Talks were Moderated by Thomas Widdershoven and Danielle Arets.

Photos below by Angeline Swinkels



15th April Time: 10.00 – 11.15 am

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Designer Arne Hendriks, on Pigeon Poo tower

Brabara Putman Industrial Ecologist & Francesca Miazzo, co-Founder of CITIES foundation on  ‘shitty’ systems and how social design can be of help in cleaning up the mess  in local area’s.

Francesca Piredda design researcher at DESIS Lab (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) of Polytechnico de Milano & students of the Food & Non Food department

Marnix van Holland, business development officer at Hivos (international development organisation guided by humanist values) on Biodigesters & students Food and Non Food department

Especially in the international year of the soils it is important to look at faeces as a source rather than waste material.

During this talk DAE explored how our perception of material impacts our recycling system and how designers can help us to change paradigms.

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16th April Time: 10.00 – 11.15 am

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Eating designer Marije Vogelzang, head Food & Non Food Design Academy Eindhoven

Jop de Vrieze, journalist and author of Allemaal Beestjes  (All bacteria)

Daisy Ginsberg, designer of the E chromi project; a collaboration between designers and scientists in the emerging field of synthetic biology

Marieke Mertens and Pien Vermazeren of the bio art lab

Can you eat your own Poo?   Can you use it as a material?   How is poo reflecting your state of being?

There is currently a lot of interest in our digestion system, with numerous books about our intestines and bacteria. It’s rather remarkable though, that we are hardly aware of our own shit.

During this talk DAE explored how the current food culture (foodism) can be inspired by pooism

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17th April Time: 10.00 – 11.15 am ( held inside due to rain )

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Design researcher Earlwyn Covington, initiator of Thinking Food Design, Tutor Food Non Food department and Parsons

Designer Leanne Wijnsma on the project Instinctive Smell ; trace smelly times and grasp how our instincts are a very strong guidance.

Philosopher Julian Baggini (author a.o. of The Virtues of the Table: How to Eat and Think) talking about whether a future scientist examining our faeces would be able to know about the values and ethics that guide our eating.

Poo can actually help us to trace our past. Many great secrets are revealed through paleofeces, the study of the waste left behind.

These traces of the past contain a lot of information; DNA can be extracted from it and by this we can reveal new stories (f.e. on eating habits, diabetes in the past) of our ancestors.

During this talk DAE tried to find out how shit can be a service / source of information for scientist, archaeologist, futurologist.

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FOOD NON FOOD by Marije Vogelzang

marije vogelzang

I can’t think of anything that touches us like food.

It is the soul of life, a single unifier.

When I first graduated I did not want to become known as the ‘food girl’, but I was struck by the public’s reaction to my first projects.

It made me think much more about the material’s potency and potential.

Food is very emotional – it has the power to make people feel happy. I always knew that, but the more complicated question was how a food designer could make the sort of impact I wanted to make. My answer is that one must always have a stand-point that is bigger than the food on a plate.

So I want ‘Eat Shit’ to show how there is a big difference between food design and eating design. I want to reveal the full gamut of what my new Food Non Food course at the Design Academy Eindhoven covers.

It is the first undergraduate food design course in the world (in art education) and for the department I selected a team of experts with different strengths so students come at the subject from as broad a perspective as possible.

The department’s focus is on materials, politics, communication and always ideas – ideas about change, the future and problem solving.

Combined, my team has a unique view on where and why food is where it is right now, but also where it is headed.

It is important to look backwards and forwards to better understand how design can intervene on that route. We talk about contemporary reality, limitations and all the various responses design can make to food related issues.

Food Non Food is a brand new department and our students are still finding their way and their voice as designers – they are still only in their second year of study.

But we decided now is the right moment to show what we have been up to given that the next World Expo is approaching with its food focus, but also because our students are so fresh and enthusiastic. Milan just felt right.

marije vogelganz 2

I think one of the main problems facing food and food production right now is that most of the people in the industry are very specialized and focus solely on their own profession.

Design cannot solve every problem, but I do think it can make a valuable contribution. And it is at each point of the production and distribution process that difference can be made because skilled creative thinkers are trained to tackle bigger problems head on.

And more generally designers are uniquely positioned – they understand problems and can use design thinking to kick-start a stuck system out of its rut.

Designers can work between farmers and families, between politicians and industry, and between scientists and producers.

Designers can forge links, they can take existing knowledge and add a design twist which ensures ideas click across boarders.

Everybody eats – food is potent, it forms the basis of life and yet so many of us, especially those living in cities, take it for granted.

People don’t think about the fact that bananas were originally green with spikes and seeds, or that carrots were purple and white.

What happened? Why are they so homogenized? And what does it mean for the future of food?

Limiting agricultural diversity puts agriculture in a precarious position. So I guess you can say I did become the ‘food girl’, but now I understand why that was the best possible path.

Marloes van Bennekom wants to link the garden with the city in order to bring the cure closer to the disease. She uses design to transform the relationship between citizens and public space.

Van Bennekom’s Outdoor Pharmacy (2011) draws from a tradition of naturopathy to create gardens with specific plants to serve the needs of the nearby populations—ginko trees that improve memory near senior citizen homes and rosemary bushes near gyms to soothe the muscles of athletes.



Design Academy Eindhoven – Food Non Food Department

If you work with food, then you have to work with shit, says head of Food Non Food Marije Vogelzang

Designers design for people, they are the focus point of the design profession.

Food is at the centre of people’s needs.

Food links everything and everyone, and it is the largest economic factor/sector in the world.

We will always need food and because of this it will always be relevant.

But food is not just fuel for the body, it is also fundamental for shaping our identity, food connects people, food can bring comfort, confer status, and heal. Broadly speaking food is energy.

The subject of food is increasingly urgent across the globe.

There is so much happening in the world of food, extensive industrialisation, exploitation, animal welfare, the decimation of bee populations, obesity, overfishing etc., it is now the most schizophrenic of times when it comes to food, food production, perceptions of food, and consumption.

Parallel to the problems related to food production and consumption, the fundamental role of food connects it to so many other inspiring themes.

Think about food and rituals, food and psychology, the healing powers of food, food and education, food and identity.

For the designer of the future and within design education there is much potential in this yet to be explored field of study.

The interest in food as point of departure is quickly growing both within and outside of the academia.

It is therefore important for us to efficiently bundle the expertise regarding this subject within a department and work to ensure that we can also communicate our accumulated knowledge and insights effectively with the world outside of the DAE.

I see a growing demand in my field for creative minds who can focus on different aspects within the theme of food.

There is great scope for innovation, clarification, the critical examination of traditions, and for a more poetic or artistic approach to food.

“Food goes to the stomach, but it can also activate the brain and can rouse strong memories and emotions.”


After 10 years of experience with food projects, Marije Vogelzang has developed a philosophy consisting of eight inspirational points.

They can be used as a tool to inspire designers and creatives about food.

Eating design is a uncultivated area with an endless amount of possibilities.

The eight point philosophy gives insight into where the possibilities of working with food can lead.

  • The eight points are:
    – the senses
    – nature
    – culture
    – society
    – technique
    – psychology
    – science
    – action
design academy eindhoven milan 2015 (1)

student presenting their work to one of the DAE tutors as part of the ongoing faculty assessment process


Just another day at Design Academy Eindhoven –  by Dave Hakkens, Luc van Hoeckel and Pim van Baarsen.


eat shit sign

till next year

1 Comment

  1. Poop Art - Gut Harmony - May 22, 2015

    […] Design Academy Eindhoven presented recently “Eat Shit” at the Salone del Mobile – the first exhibition of the new department Food Non Food, directed by Marije Vogelzang. Eat Shit by D.A.E @ Salone Milan 2015 […]

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