Whaling Harpoon (Fragment)

Date – 2400

Place – Bergen, Norway

The legacy of centuries of industrial pollution and unsustainable farming practices resulted in the almost total dependence on synthetic foodstuffs to feed a global population of 15 billion lives. By 2400 it had proved impossible to sustain even a modest harvest on the contaminated landscapes and depleted soils of the Earth. Paradoxically, this suspension of industrial agriculture with its accompanying chemical inputs and runoffs, led to a cleansing of the world’s oceans and a huge increase in whale populations.

Bergen in Norway, historically a major whaling port, began to rebuild its whaling fleet. Driven by the old stories and mythologies around whaling and the profits from the rich and fashionable visitors lured to Bergen by the promise of food that was ‘pure’ i.e., non-synthetic, the second age of whaling began.

Within a few short years, Bergen had become a chic and expensive destination, filled with stylish restaurants serving a huge variety of whale-based cuisine. In 2400, after tests revealed that the whale’s flesh was contaminated with large amounts of microplastics, the trade collapsed and the whaling fleets were abandoned. Bergen’s image as a fashionable food destination was irrevocably tarnished and most of the trendy restaurants closed. Ironically, the seemingly pure flesh of the whale proved to be at least as synthetic as the fermentation flasks, algal ponds and mineral fillers at the heart of the synthetic food industry.

Return to exhibition