Food Revolution: Kosuke Araki and the Relation between Man and Nature

The exhibition Food Revolution 5.0 shows more than 30 practical or hypothetical works revolving around alternatives to our current nutrition systems. Neila Kemmer talked to japanese designer Kosuke Araki about the possibilities that design offers for creating visions of a better future.

Interview: Neila Kemmer

The exhibition Food Revolution 5.0 touches critically on various subjects regarding the food system and our relation to food. What would you say, do we need a Food Revolution?
Kosuke Araki: Yes, I think we have to rethink about things around food in many aspects as discussed in the exhibition. For example, the food markets attract people because of their liveliness and freshness, but visiting people seem unlikely to think about how much food is wasted there. Supermarkets produce organic waste a lot. Every single food shop also does so more or less. I once asked food shops to put aside some vegetables to be discarded for me. Although some of the vegetables were spoiled, some of them were still fresh enough to eat. It could be easily imagined that these were just a part of the enormous amounts of food disposed of on a daily basis.

Foodwasteware / photo by Masami Naruo
Foodwasteware / photo by Masami Naruo

The exhibition states a revolutionary potential in design. How do you join this food revolution? And can you say something about the process and the idea of your works in the exhibition, Food Waste Ware and Anima?
I hope my projects become a help to reweave the relationship between nature and human beings. Food is not a thing but life. I guess not so many people are seeing food as life when trading, buying or eating it. I believe the lack of this regard is one of the factors of wasting huge amounts of ‘food’ every day for the economical or other reasons, which eventually contributes various environmental issues.
In tribute to wasted life, a series of tableware is created. Vegetable wastes are carbonized, powdered and then mixed with some animal materials and Urushi, Japanese lacquer, which gives practical strength. I wonder if what you would feel if you were served food on these tableware.

What’s your main interest in your design practice?
My current and probably life-time interest in designing is how we can better our life within the natural cycle. Since our urban life is deeply separated from nature, we tend to forget our life is able to exist thanks to it. Restoring this kind of mindset must be necessary for sorting out not only issues around food but also other environmental issues of now and the future.
I would say my client is nature. I would always like to be careful not to damage the environment and like to make things which celebrate rich diversity of the universe.

What is your latest work about? Is it related to food, too?
There are two projects I am working on now. One is development of the Anima collection. I am updating the way of making and planning to expand the collection. The other is not related to food but something natural. I am designing something made of wood, utilizing various benefits the material brings. I cannot disclose anything more at the moment until late October.

Foodwasteware Material Carbonisation / photo by Masami Naruo
Foodwasteware Material Carbonisation / photo by Masami Naruo

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