Class of 2021
27 / Rotterdam, Netherlands
From Hong Kong, China
The Hong Kong designer reverse-engineering the food production process
Adelaide Lala Tam sees her role as an artist as prompting us to consider the lifestyle choices we make. After huge critical success for her art in her native Hong Kong, she moved to the Netherlands to study and set up a studio with a vision to make a splash on the global food scene. Through the use of mixed-media installations, she dismantles industrial food production by encouraging consumers to examine their own relationship with the things that they eat and their own responsibilities in the process.
For Adelaide’s project 0.9 Grams of Brass, she created a vending machine selling only paperclips. These clips each were each moulded from a brass cartridge casing used in a bovine slaughterhouse, which users only become aware of after interacting with the machine. Through the application of this everyday piece of stationery, and by allowing participants to take it away with them, the object becomes a constant reminder of the animal’s loss of life.
It’s just one example in a string of contemporary pieces that are well considered and hard-hitting. Adelaide’s skill in encouraging everyday consumers to think about the way they eat and to connect them with the harsh reality in industrial food production bears relevance to anyone who has ever eaten mass-produced food. Through designing food experiences, objects and stories, she communicates the complexities and nuances of this relationship in ways that resonate with us all.
“Rather than taking a moral position for – or against – the consumption of animal products, I aim to create a more nuanced understanding of our dependency on farmed animals. Through a greater appreciation of these animals, I hope that we as a society can move towards a more balanced relationship between humans, and the ‘individuals’ that are processed through livestock industries.” – Adelaide Lala Tam
Images: Boudewijn Bollmann