The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 13, 2012

Samek Art Gallery artists event: ‘Excito Excito: A Veritable Feast’

For The Daily Item

LEWISBURG — The Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University will present “Excito Excito: A Veritable Feast” Thursday,, Nov. 15.

The two-part event begins at 6 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center with the interdisciplinary discussion, “Food for Thought: How Our Palates Have Become Political.”

“The panel is a great starting place for our night of public programming,” said Pam Campanaro, gallery associate. “We have invited Kenneth Hung, whose work is on view at the Downtown Art Gallery, to sit down with Jessie Horning, a graduate assistant in printmaking at Bucknell, and faculty members Margot Vigeant, associate professor of chemical engineering, and Nancy White, professor of economics.

“The panelists will explore how the food people consume has radically changed over the course of history and discuss what’s at stake for the future of food in America. After the panel, we invite our audience to view what this future might look like as predicted by Kenneth and Jessie’s art installation,” she said.

The installation, “Excito Excito”: A Veritable Feast,” will be on view immediately following the panel from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Samek Art Gallery. This collaborative work creates, documents, and serves food dishes that represent and examine the past, present and foreseeable future of American food creation, production, manufacturing and consumption. This presentation prompts the viewer to consider the widespread industrial practice of substituting natural foods for artificial ingredients and additives.

“People do not realize the artificially flavored and GMO-laden ‘food’ we consume will negatively affect our future’s economy and health,” said Campanaro. “No areas are off limits, which is why the gallery felt an interdisciplinary panel would lay the groundwork for ‘Excito Excito.’”

 According to the artists’ statement, the speed of our daily lives is exponentially accelerating in light of the fast-paced technological advancements and the correspondent demands of those advancements. One consequence is that meals are becoming quicker to prepare and eat: fast food restaurants sell soy burgers enhanced with grilled beef flavor crystals; Monsanto produces genetically modified organisms in the quest for perfect fruits and vegetables. Artificial food additives, or excitotoxins, including aspartame and monosodium glutamate, have found their way into more than three quarters of our supermarket shelves. These excitotoxins have been linked to obesity, eye damage, and bone loss.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is the quintessential time to indulge in a delicious feast. Every year, the preparation of the Thanksgiving meal eases with the addition of a newly prepackaged dish for public consumption: cranberry sauce is reduced to gelatinous form and extracted from a can; yams are canned only to be topped with a product made from entirely artificial ingredients and flavors (i.e., marshmallows); and stuffing comes neatly packaged in a box with flavor already in tow.

The Thanksgiving edition of “Excito! Excito! invites the viewer to indulge in a meal that offers the past, present, and foreseeable future of this iconic meal. The feasible future of American food is food distilled into pure flavor that can be consumed with the least amount of preparation.

This presentation prompts the viewer to consider the widespread industrial practice of substituting natural foods for artificial ingredients and additives.

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