Jane Kim, examines our complicated relationship with food, from hunting methods refined over millions of years to the morality of modern agriculture. In wealthier circles and societies, food has never been easier to acquire, a convenience that comes with social and environmental costs. The ease in which we can find a meal with the tap of an app has obscured the reality that eating once was—and still remains—one of our most intimate connections to nature. In exploring concepts like food acquisition, technology, and monoculture, Kim tells a story that has shaped the globe.
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune examines the Renaissance-era spice trade, which shaped today’s global economy and power structure. For centuries, European aristocracy coveted Asian spices like black pepper, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, composed here in mandala form. Columbus’s arrival in the New World began as a search for a direct trade route to India and its black pepper. Colonialism—a form of social monoculture—evolved, quite literally, as a function of the ruling class’s appetite for a diversity of flavor. At the center of the mandala, before a background of earth tones, sparkles the 105-carat Koh-I-Noor diamond. Ownership of the diamond, mined in India centuries ago and taken to England by Queen Victoria in 1849 following a peace treaty with an 11-year old Maharaja, is still disputed. The mandala symbology acknowledges the Asian origins of these now-common spices while its circular form, similar to a globe or compass, evokes concepts of exploration and interconnectedness.