Scientists at the University of Western Australia have coined the term “disembodied cuisine” to refer to a new tissue-engineering technique that makes it possible to grow edible meat from sample cells in a laboratory. In vitro-cultured meat production may have many advantages, but it raises practical questions as well as some complex philosophical and ethical issues. What should this meat look like? What flavor should it have? How should it be served? King answers the first question: “A mobile magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) unit scours the countryside looking for the most beautiful examples of livestock. The selected specimen is scanned from head to toe, and accurate cross-sectional images of its inner organs are generated to create molds for the in vitro meat. We might still want to re-create a familiar shape to better remind us where the ‘artificial’ meat came from.”
Gallery label from Born out of Necessity, March 2, 2012–January 28, 2013.