Austrian artists honey and bunny (Sonja Stummerer & Martin Hablesreiter) have been invited by the V&A to participate at their Friday Late event this month. We thought this deserved a closer look at their practice!
I don’t know about you but January is always that time of year I reflect on my relationship with food. Whether it’s a resolution to eat more fresh, unprocessed food or just a promise to stay away from those chocolate covered hobnobs in the office, it’s a time when everyone, including the media, seem totally preoccupied with food. Sonja Stummerer & Martin Hablesreiter are equally focused on food, however its from a rather unusual angle! With a background in design and architecture these two Austrian artists/designers are the first to explore and publish on the topic of food design.
Looking at the design of plates and eating utensils led them to think about food. Their interest in the design of food really began with the humble fish finger. This childhood staple may seem anything but a design classic, but why is it the shape it is, why is it 5 or 6cm long? This led them to an exploration of food from a design perspective and to argue that frozen or processed foods like hot dogs, pizza and cornflakes should be seen as industrial design. Their first book on the topic ‘Food Design XL’ was published in 2010 (we have a copy in our library if anyone is keen to see it!).
The next stage of their work, one that will be explored in their performance at the V&A looks not so much at the food itself but at the culture of eating. How we eat, what tools we use and what we wear. They make us stop and think about the traditions each community imposes, the set of rules that each child learns about ‘table manners’. Why do we eat soup with a spoon, when we could drink it, too? Why do we sit on chairs and not on the floor when we eat? And why do we wear tight, uncomfortable clothing while doing so, and not aprons or bathrobes? The way we eat is not biologically predetermined, but rather molded by our culture.
Food is clearly a design issue and we are delighted the V&A has invited honey & bunny to perform! And in case you’re wondering where the name honey & bunny came from it was first used as a joke during a year in Japan when their difficult German last names created confusion. And it stuck 🙂
eat | VALUE | design will be presented at the V&A Museum on Friday 29 January from 6:30pm.