The Centre for Genomic Gastronomy is working on an experimental diner that delves into the culinary properties of human tears

One might be hard pressed to find a cow that is musing over how it would taste when eaten by a human, or a broccoli that hopes it’s stalks are sweet, juicy and nutritious. Humans, on the other hand, have been taking steps to ensure that they are a tasty morsel for insects.

A group of artist’s have been working alongside scientists to investigate and express ideas around the biodiversity of human food systems and biotechnologies. The collective is known as the Centre for Genomic Gastronomy. Recently they began work on an experimental diner that aimed to delve into the culinary properties of human tears and the dietary requirements of insects and other people-eaters. 

The concept flourished and in late 2016 was exhibited Helsinki at Pixelache under the title To Flavour Our Tears. Presented under the theme Interfaces for Empathy, the project invited visitors to imagine their bodies as restaurants and then how they might flavour and season themselves to the enjoyment of insects. Visitors to the exhibition were encouraged to collect their tears and given recipe cards for themselves.

Co-founder of the Centre, Zach Denfeld, has titled the research into flavouring oneself, Autogastronomy. In an interview on We Make Money Not Art, Denfeld and co-founder Cathrine Kramer explained the endeavour as “both metaphoric and quite possibly implementable.”

“Where possible, at the Center for Genomic Gastronomy we try to stay true to our materials, assembling real organisms and ingredients in new configurations and find ways that we can give people the taste of the world we are imagining / speculating, and have them put the art directly into their body (or their body into to the art sometimes),” said the duo.



The peculiar nature of the experiment raises some very interesting questions around the role of humans in their broader eco-systems. Popular science has always considered the Homo Sapien to be the superior species of the animal kingdom, as we have sculpted our environments to suit ourselves – often to detriment of everything else.

“We are starting to ask questions about whether or not humans are or have been cultivated by non-humans, and how do we even go about exploring that possibility. Are we being farmed and harvested? Michael Pollan gave a talk back in 2007 asking “What if human consciousness isn’t the end-all and be-all of Darwinism? What if we are all just pawns in corn’s clever strategy game to rule the Earth? Author Michael Pollan asks us to see the world from a plant’s-eye view,” posed Kramer and Denfeld.

Further food for thought is that those of us who do take particular care of our own health, may in fact be preparing ourselves to be more nutritionally beneficial for insects.

Centre for Genomic Gastronomy

One might be hard pressed to find a cow that is musing over how it would taste when eaten by a human, or a broccoli that hopes it’s stalks are sweet, juicy and nutritious. Humans, on the other hand, have been taking steps to ensure that they are a tasty morsel for insects.

A group of artist’s have been working alongside scientists to investigate and express ideas around the biodiversity of human food systems and biotechnologies. The collective is known as the Centre for Genomic Gastronomy. Recently they began work on an experimental diner that aimed to delve into the culinary properties of human tears and the dietary requirements of insects and other people-eaters.