Nov 15, 6-7pm: Food for Thought: How our Palates Have Become Political

Food for Thought: How our Palates Have Become Political

Panel Discussion,  6- 7pm : Gallery Theatre (3rd Floor Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University)

“Excito! Excito!” : A Veritable Feast to follow


As we prepare for November’s election, what we put in our mouths has become highly political on both state and national ballots. In New York, the ban on sugary drinks over 16 ounces has stirred controversy over the imbalances between personal accountability and corporate fat cats advertising GMO laden foods as “natural” or “a part of a well-balanced diet.” In California, election tickets won’t determine just state officials. The Golden State will allow their residents to vote on Prop 37, the initiative to mandate GMO labeling statewide.

As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.”  The sizes of American dining plates have increased by 30% over the years. We are a country after all, made to believe that everything is better when it’s bigger. The United States is one of the only countries that does not mandate foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from being labeled as such.

As a result, the “whole grain” bread you buy from the grocery store might seem like the healthiest option. But, check the list of unpronounceable, chemical additives found in our “foods.” You’ll find countless traces of GMOs, corn, corn syrups, and artificial coloring. As the ingredients list gets longer and harder to pronounce, American consumers are loosing sight of what is real. So I ask, what are we real-ly eating?

Rockwell, Freedom From Want

At Bucknell University, where interdisciplinary topics are at the forefront of campus programming, the Samek Art Gallery is pleased to present a collaboration of the Arts and food policy. Food for Thought: How our Palates Have Become Political is a two-part event beginning with a round-table discussion of how food and the politics of how we eat have radically changed over the course of history. At the present, our perceptions of what is in our food is moving towards a future of chemical modifiers and artificial flavors. Guest panelists Nancy White and Margot Vigeant of Bucknell University will join New York based artist, Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung who’s political and humorous exhibition, The Travelogue of Dr. Brain Damages is currently on view at the Downtown Art Gallery.

Immediately following the panel discussion, Hung, Sanh Tran, and Bucknell’s Printmaking Graduate Assistant, Jessie Horning will present their collaborative installation, “Excito! Excito” in the Conversations Gallery. The gallery will be transformed into a contemporary version of Norman Rockwell’s Freedom From Want, a scene depicting a Thanksgiving feast. For Hung and Horning, the traditional American, home cooked feast has vanished from the contemporary moment. What remains is a “Thanksgiving Lite,” according to Horning who notes that our food is moving towards a scientifically modified future.

What flavorful flare is on the menu, you ask? The pair, whose individual practices focus on political humor (Hung) and food commentary/memory (Horning), has blended these notions into a presentation of the artificial and the modified. A “TurkinGel” AKA a Turkey-less Jelly with the Purest Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein will sit as the centerpiece,  garnished with parsley herbs, spring onions made of Jell-O, and artificially flavored to taste like the real thing will serve as the main course. YUM! Save room for the gourmet dessert spread “Melting Potty” containing vanilla icing with bacon, pumpkin, gingerbread & NY cheesecake artificial flavors.

Join us on Thursday, November 15th for an evening of discussion and dining around the concepts of how our palates have become so political.

For more on artist Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung, visit: TinKin

For more on artist Jessie Horning, visit: JessieHorning

For more on photographer Sanh Tran, visit: 75Studios


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Gallery Locations

The Samek Gallery
3rd Floor, Elaine Langone Center
Bucknell University

The Downtown Gallery
416 Market Street
Lewisburg, PA 17837