Vapour Meat

Vapour Meat [HP0.3.1]alpha ()
Created with Oron Catts
(300mg desiccated, ground in vitro mouse meat(C2C12); ultrasonic vapouriser; essential oils; water; glass bottles; rubber stoppers; microperfusion pump; ultrasonic sensor; arduino; perspex; plastic tubing)
500mm x 300mm x 500mm

Vapour Meat responds to a growing uneasiness with meat. The negative effects of meat industries have resulted in the rise of veganism, vegetarianism, ethical omnivorism and technological solutions like lab-grown meat, a.k.a. ‘clean meat’. Yet these responses result in an increasing distance between ourselves and the animal Other. Vapour Meat uses this scenario to posit a future in which we reach for the abstract, hypermediated and the technological in lieu of the real.

Vapour Meat is a helmet that emits meat vapours composed of a mixture of lab-grown mouse muscle cells, essential oils and water. The result is a speculative prototype that fuses three contemporary trends: molecular gastronomy, lab-grown meat and e-cigarettes.

The work adapts the term “vaporware” and explores its relevance to the lab-grown meat industry. Vaporware—an amalgamation of  “vapor” and “software”—refers to a mythical software product promoted by a start-up company in order to entice funding from investors, but which never comes to fruition. Vapour Meat literalises this concept to satirise the bombastic promises of lab-grown meat companies.

Ultimately, Vapour Meat presents an absurd scenario that intervenes on the present to question our current relations with agricultural farming, lab-grown meat and media. Vapour Meat is concerned with our conflicted desire for flesh, ethics and technological novelty.

2020  Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, US
2019  Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, US
2019  Hyundai Motor Studio, 798 Art Zone, Beijing, CN
2018  Science Gallery Dublin, Dublin, IE 

Some words about the work:

Vapour Meat: a helmet to vape the essence of ‘clean meat’
by Régine Debatty at We Make Money Not Art

Fact, Fiction and the Art of Deception
by Anthony King for Nature

Images were provided courtesy of the Science Gallery Dublin, 2018.