Controlled Feeding Status
Nutraloaf recipe, metal, glass, polypropylene, velvet
Controlled Feeding Status is comprised of two objects. The first, a set of 3D printed flatware, sits on a velvet cushion inside a glass vitrine. The second is a recipe for Nutraloaf, a completely tasteless food product that is used as a behavior modification tool in some American prisons. In 1999, inmates at TAMMS Correctional Center argued that Nutraloaf constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Judges on the case noted that while a calorically restricted diet is prohibited, Nutraloaf is nutritious and therefor legal (if unappetizing).
Before the advent of pottery, no human lacking healthy teeth could survive into adulthood. Cooking pots softened food, and allowed those with poor dentition to persist and reproduce. When chopsticks arrived 900 years ago, the average Chinese jaw adopted an overbite that would spread worldwide with the popularization of the fork. It seems that no assistive tool can be introduced without reinforcing or creating some unintended frailty in the body (more…).
Spices, originally used to slow food spoilage, now serve a sensual purpose. Salt, once so valuable that soldiers received it as payment, is now so common that modern eaters must work to avoid it . Contemporary cuisine repositions food as mental, rather than tangible, sustenance. This inversion of function is so complete that many first-world consumers find their physical health threatened by an overabundance of things to eat (more…).
Rube Goldberg, like so many artists of his era, responded to global crises with dark humor. Emergencies such as war or hunger are too stark to face head-on, and can often be more effectively discussed through absurdity. In his Pulitzer Prize winning cartoon from 1948, Goldberg depicts a family whose house is built upon a teetering atomic bomb. Similarly, Controlled Feeding Status points to the dysfunction of consumption by interrupting the most basic tool with which we engage that system.
 Kurlansky, Mark. Salt: A World History. New York: Penguin, 2003. 12. Print.