While interactive art exhibitions are becoming increasingly popular, few end with patrons actually consuming the pieces on display. Among these few are the designs of Marije Vogelzang, Dutch food designer and upcoming lecturer in the School of Art & Design’s Penny Stamps Speaker Series. Vogelzang specializes in food design, a field in which artists prepare and arrange food to be aesthetically pleasing. Through her catering company, Proef, Vogelzang simultaneously creates exhibitions and meals.

Marije Vogelzang: “My Designs Inside Your Body”

Oct. 7 at 5:10 p.m.
Michigan Theater

“I’m educated to be a product designer, but I decided to choose food as my preferred material,” Vogelzang wrote in an e-mail interview with the Daily. “When working with food I noticed that it has so much effect on the world around us and ourselves”

Vogelzang considers herself an “eating designer” rather than a food designer, because she believes “food is already perfectly designed by nature.” As an eating designer, Vogelzang is more concerned with food’s origin, preparation, etiquette, history and culture. She tries to find unusual combinations and methods of preparing her pieces, which range from hors d’oeuvres to full meals. She focuses on the verb “to eat” and the ways it can be manipulated.

“I work on food related projects like restaurant concepts, dinners, hospital projects, inspiration sessions, food industry and try to make simple creative ideas that respect food,” Vogelzang explained.

One of Vogelzang’s favorite projects was a recreation of World War II recipes served to people who survived the Rotterdam Hunger Winter during the war. Though many of the guests were so old they could no longer taste food, the look and feel of Vogelzang’s recipes stimulated their memories from more than 60 years ago.

“Another one that I like is a project to get children to eat vegetables,” Vogelzang added. “I invited 12 kids to my studio and told them we were going to make jewelry out of vegetables. The main tools they could use were their teeth. The children were making their jewelry and were … chewing away lots of vegetables that they stated before they didn’t like. The emphasis was on playing. Not on eating. Secretly they ate and accepted the taste.”

In her 10 years of integrating art and food, Vogelzang has found that the right eating design can benefit the mind and heart as well as the body. She has developed her own set of criteria for her company’s eating design, working with eight points – the senses, nature, culture, society, technique, psychology, science and action – to stimulate the brain and emotions.

“When working with food, naturally you work with the senses. But more important is the story behind it, the story that I want to tell. Sometimes it’s about where the food comes from or what it does to your body or how food makes you communicate and share with your fellow table guests,” Vogelzang wrote.

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