Food, an eternal and always topical theme, because feeding is vital and daily. Why do we eat beef rather than cow, how does the kitchen build the national identity, how to better know its plate: an exhibition at the Museum of Man in Paris offers to discover the biological, cultural and ecological aspects of our diet.
"Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are": since 1825, the famous formula of the gourmet Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin highlights perfectly the link between food and individual. How does eating act on our identities through cultural practices, rituals and prohibitions? What is the role of food in human evolution? What about the global environmental impact of food production, today and tomorrow? It is to all these questions and many more that the exhibition "Je manger je je suis", at the Musée de l'Homme in Paris, proposes to answer. An exhibition as appetizing for the stomach as for the spirit, declined between topics of funds, debates of companies and even some subjects "surprises" whose prestigious objects going from the Chinese artist Liu Bolin to Pablo Picasso while passing by the visual artist French Gilles Barbier and contemporary Spanish artist Pilar Albarracin.
Basically, "I eat so I am" is based directly on research conducted by scientists at the National Museum of Natural History . Taste training, gastrodiplomacy, culinary heritage, agricultural models, meat consumption, GMOs, food for our ancestors ... The Museum's research covers a wide range of fields, but as explained by RFI Christophe Lavelle , CNRS researcher and scientific commissioner exhibition, " health is not the body of the exhibition, because it is not the body of research that is conducted at the Museum of Man . "
► To listen: The taste of the world (Eating magic, issue of 10/26/19)
If food health is not at the center of the exhibition, the fruit of the work of the Museum's scientists offers a body of knowledge to ask some good questions. This is the case with the theme of meat: we discover the various issues related to its consumption, its role in our evolution and its growing ecological impact. What literally feed the many debates on the ethical, ecological and health consequences of meat consumption. " It's an exhibition that exposes a state of knowledge. We do not want to be instigators or preceptors of certain ideas, "warns Christophe Lavelle. What nonetheless satisfy the most greedy knowledge!
Over 600m2, three rooms are devoted to the exhibition to discover all the contemporary issues of food with small winks that entertain as much as they educate visitors. We can sit at the Élysée table, or converse with Dr. Meuh, a fictitious cow on different diets, also watch an excerpt from the cult movie Wing or thigh , or wonder about effects of overconsumption in front of a replica of supermarket shopping cart high of nearly 3 meters, the work of the French artist Lilian Bourgeat.
To explore food from the point of view of human societies, the visitor is invited to take part in a large "ethnoculinary banquet", a trip around the world with the religious, identity, political and artistic dimensions of food . Without forgetting of course the tableware that always say a lot about customs and cultures.
► To listen: Around the question (What are we eating ?, issue of 5/11/19)
Vegan or vegan or flexitarian, our era is moving towards a new food era in which our way of feeding us is questioned with a focus on the desire to eat healthy. Returning to the long history of human nutrition since the Paleolithic, "I am eating, I am," offers a reminder of the past to meet the challenges of tomorrow by helping people rethink the connection between eating habits and nutritional needs. At the exit, the visitor understood the impact of the diet on the anatomy, the genetic inheritance and the social habits. He is no longer a mere consumer, but can claim to know how to make choices, ultimately becoming a genuine "consumer".
Exhibition "I am eating so I am"
Museum of the Man, place du Trocadéro, Paris
Until June 1st, 2020