Out now: Food&… Nuclear War

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The third issue of Food& is thicker than usual, this time combining the topics food and nuclear war – a sharp turn from the lighter focus of the second issue, Sport. Regardless of how dark the theme, Food& always makes you feel as though you are being brought into a private joke. There is something comical about reflecting on the relation and use of one of our most basic needs.

The Berlin-based biannual explores unusual encounters with food. The idea was conceived during a trip to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan, when its editors noticed a family eating from a pack of sushi while standing next to a tank of whale sharks. What followed was a project that plays on this irony; this issue’s back cover is quite simply lots of mushrooms that in context look like bombs, and the opening page is a playful advertisement for foods sold at ‘Atomic Prices’, most notably Squid Jong-un and Donald Trout (above).

The magazine cleverly combines the content on its pages with references online. The first piece, ‘Duck and Caviar’, is a tale of a boy eating only duck and caviar when hungry. It serves as ironic advice for what to do when world hunger strikes, but it is only on reaching the end of the story that you are lead to a YouTube link for the 1951 film ‘Duck and Cover’, which offers real advice from the Federal Civil Defense Administration in the form of a cartoon.

In other articles, particularly ‘Algae Diet Part of my Atomic Body’ and ‘Surviving Nuclear Winter’, food is explored practically within the context of nuclear war, providing more unsettling reading. Spirulina recipes are advised for radiation poisoning, and we are forced to consider how long our food supplies would actually last after a nuclear blast.

The whole issue is a rich visual treat, but feels rather macabre and absurd, with pieces that begin, ‘When nuclear war will break out…’ stationed between gluttonous photographs of half-eaten food in restaurants and flabby cans of preserved sausages. It is a very enjoyable read and the tone is spot-on, but there is an inevitable strange aftertaste; there’s definitely something apocalyptic about realizing that the issue’s humorous advice is actually stuff you should know. The next theme of Food& is love, which seems like quite a fitting distraction to the themes brought up in this issue.

Editor: Asis Ybarra
Art director: Jan Motyka


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