PAOLA ANTONELLI: Meat of Tomorrow is a project James King completed while attending Royal College of Art’s Design Interactions program in London. Anthony Dunne, of the design team Dunne/Raby, heads up that program:
ANTHONY DUNNE: James' project explores some possibilities for what's usually called lab-grown meats. It’s a form of meat grown basically from cells that have been removed, say, from a cow or a chicken or some other animal. They're grown in the laboratory.
The animal isn't harmed or doesn't die, and this meat grows usually to just a few centimeters. In theory, it would suggest that it's possible that we could grow meat in laboratories rather than farming meat. And James was interested in what the implications of that might be both at one end of the scale on farming and the role of animals in our lives. And at the other end of the scale, on what this meat would actually look like, and how it would taste.
For most people, they find it quite disgusting. The gut instinct is to go, "Yuck," and not really think about it anymore. And James, in reinterpreting that conceptually and presenting it in a more aesthetic way I think, creates a different sort of discussion.
I think aesthetics is providing a way into the the space that the technology's creating, the ethical space, and drawing people in and sort of allowing them to think about it more deeply.
If for example, that meat doesn't result in animals being killed, is it okay for vegetarians to eat it?