Morangos Carnívoros

(2018) was part of an exhibition by the Food of War collective during Zonamaco, an art fair in Mexico City. The main idea was to invite visitors to critically reflect on extreme attitudes related to food –especially that of veganism. Ironically, vegans commonly consume jellies, fruit jams and preserves whose vibrant red is taken from a natural carmine dye obtained from cochineals. An artificial dye that is widely used instead of cochineal dye is red 40, which has been shown to cause chromosomal damage and lymphomas in mice. Several dyes used in certain countries are banned in other countries due to evidence that they can cause tumours, organ damage, allergic reactions and hyperactivity. Building on the traditional use of insects as food in Mexico (with a side look at Monty Python’s “Whizzo Chocolate Company” sketch), the project offered visitors some delicious-looking candies lovingly sculpted like juicy red strawberries, each stuffed with a perfectly edible and highly nutritious food: a fried cricket in a milk chocolate envelope, with no artificial additives or preservatives of any kind. This gastroperformance exposes dilemmas and contradictions of our contemporary world. The effect of having frustrated expectations and even finding pleasure in their outcomes demonstrates that gastronomic traditions are not random –they are full of cultural and practical issues– and that the act of eating involves many more aspects than it is possible for high ideals to control.