"Hypnosis of a plant by a pseudo-scientist." Video 03:55

Best before: unlimited

"Best before: unlimited" is a solo exhibition by interdisciplinary artist Lyudmila Kalinichenko, created as part of her participation in the "New Stories of Yekaterinburg" art residency program. While in residence, Lyudmila works on the theme of artificial meat production, without killing animals. The artist corresponds with Moscow and Ural laboratories. She tried to get a piece of the pioneering product for an exhibition at the museum, and for filming she is using the agricultural fields bordering Yekaterinburg.

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"Uzbek pilaf is one of my favorite dishes. It was cooked by my stepfather. His pilaf was always delicious: moderately fatty, not dry, grain to grain, the meat tender, soft, juicy. Usually pilaf was prepared for guests, on holidays or when a cow was slaughtered. For slaughtering we hired a specialist, for example from Bashkiria. On that day, we all cried and the cow cried, but the pilaf was still very tasty. And then haymaking would start and we would go to gather hay. I was always unsatisfied with that scheme, and I began to fantasize, creating my own ideal world, in which there was a law: "NO ONE EATS". 

Final solo exhibition based on the results of the residency at the Metenkov House Museum of Photography, curated by Anastasia Martynova and Kristina Gorlanova / Yekaterinburg

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Final solo exhibition based on the results of the residency at the Metenkov House Museum of Photography, curated by Anastasia Martynova and Kristina Gorlanova / Yekaterinburg

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Final solo exhibition based on the results of the residency at the Metenkov House Museum of Photography, curated by Anastasia Martynova and Kristina Gorlanova / Yekaterinburg

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Final solo exhibition based on the results of the residency at the Metenkov House Museum of Photography, curated by Anastasia Martynova and Kristina Gorlanova / Yekaterinburg

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"Strange Agents", Victoria Underground Gallery / Samara, curated by Anastasia Albokrinova.

As an adult, I came across Paul Shapiro's book Pure Meat, where he tells the tumultuous story of inventors and investors seeking to commercialize the world's first real animal products, created without breeding or killing animals. Instead of animals directly, we will be able to tame and grow inanimate meat from their DNA. The very story Paul Shapiro tells of this "second domestication" is nothing less than domestication at the cellular level.

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I was incredibly inspired: the book described the possibility of creating hybrid steaks from beef, salmon, and turkey. The science fiction was separated from the actual store shelves only by the question of finding investors and a well-functioning marketing department to bring this product to market.

"Home farm for growing squirrels".

Print on fabric, legume sprouts, 80*120 cm

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In 2020 there are several articles in the Russian media, which say that the Moscow meat factory brings the first meat from a test tube in Russia. I contact the management of the meat factory and discuss the possibility of obtaining a sample of the innovative product for the museum, but unfortunately I am not able to. I am left with the fact of correspondence, publications and photos from the media as documentation.

"Tablets containing a daily dose of animal protein." Kinetic sculpture 15*150 cm

On the basis of this I begin to fantasize again. What could this new world become? Where will the "clean meat" be grown, perhaps immediately in the fields? What kind of people will cook and eat this new product? Which professions will appear, which will disappear, will the butcher become a chemist-technologist, changing his former image status to that of a hero? What will be the design of packaging for the new organic meat? How will we be able to monitor the quality of the product? What themes will appear in literature and art, what will food traditions and habits become? Who will we become? What will be the basis of our choices when buying animal meat and lab-grown meat? Will we have a choice or will we have to take a course of pills containing our daily protein allowance?

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Perhaps Clean Meat is just another commercial move by meat corporations in an attempt to carve another niche. A niche that has emerged through consumer awareness and a desire to change the object of choice: soy sausage, plant-based protein steak, insects, limiting consumption or avoiding meat altogether.

What is a conscious choice; is food a fuel or a culture? The average person in Russia chooses foods based on a combination of reasonable price, quality, weight, and nutritional qualities of food, rarely thinking about the environmental friendliness of a particular product.

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"Trapeze". Photoprint on fabric 120*100 cm

Food culture for many of us is an opportunity to quickly and cheaply replenish protein and carbohydrate levels in the body, leaving even taste in the background. The idea of conscious eating is a future that is yet to come." - Lyudmila Kalinichenko.

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