Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday Wonder: Uli Westphal's 'Mutatoes'

Berlin-based artist Uli Westphal is fascinated by our perceptions of what is natural and unnatural, and conceived of The Mutato Project as a way to "document, preserve, and promote the last remainders of agricultural plasticity", that is, "the way fruits, roots, and vegetables can actually look (and taste)". His Mutato-Archive is a collection of "non-standard" fruits, roots, and vegetables that we don't see in our grocery stores, where supposedly "natural" produce has been reduced, Westphal explains, to "a highly designed, monotonous product." In the video below, Westphal talks about his project, begun in 2006, and shows examples from his Mutato-Archive. 

To date, Westphal has documented more than 150 mutatoes. To support his work, he sells offset prints of his finds. His presentations are photographed beautifully. He's also pulled together a collection of links to articles, books, documentaries, and Websites that are concerned with agriculture and food production.

See more of Westphal's projects here.

My thanks to Alimentum Journal, where I first saw Westphal's thoughtfully conceived and articulated work.


Kathleen said...

Fascinating! Gorgeous and strange. This art enters the large conversation about beauty, who we are, agribusiness, what we eat, what we consider healthy and "natural," who and what we exclude or include, and why, and also calls to mind whether these mutations are abundant and ongoing or more frequent now, in a toxically-altered world. Hmm. And I love the word "mutatoes." I remember reading in The Botany of Desire how apples used to be all shapes, sizes, colors, and tastes...and how the assumed marketplace changed and homogenized that.

Louise Gallagher said...

Wow -- I also like what Kathleen wrote. ultimately, everything is connected to everything.