LASER Talks in Zurich: Food 4.0. The future of food? | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

LASER Talks in Zurich: Food 4.0. The future of food?

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The Leonardo/ISAST LASERs are a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public. The mission of the LASERs is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building to over 50 cities around the world.

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LASER Talks in Zurich: Food 4.0. The future of food?

The event will be chaired by Prof. Dr. Jill Scott and Dr. Boris Magrini



When: 6 October 2022, 6:30 to 9:30 pm CET. Find your timezone here

Where: Soletto Cafe, Hardturmstrasse 169, 8005 Zürich, Switzerland. 

To participate in-person, please send an email to ask.brazil@swissnex.orgDinner possibility on-site, by Soletto Café.

To participate online please register on ZOOM

LASER Zurich is part of the world wide series.


In the next LASERZURICH EVENT  2 artists, 2 scientists and 1 curator participate in a discussion about the future of food for consumers in relation to a possible 4th Industrial revolution. This panel presents a critical trans-discourse presentation and discussion about sustainable agriculture and explores issues like cultural exchange and food production, new approaches to protein, plant cell cultures, alternatives like algae, and genetic editing or New Breeding Plant Techniques. The discussion traces the effects of Food 4.0 on biodiversity; sustainability; nutrition; the healthy condition of our microbiome and our soil; climate adaptation and food sovereignty solutions.  The values of organic farming and better land use are well known but with Food 4.0, will old relationships between deforestation, agrochemical formulators and fertilizer manufacturers, grain traders and plant breeders, grocery retailers and tractor manufacturers change?



  • MARGAUX SCHWAB- Food Cultures
  • MAYA MINDER- Green Open Evolution
  • JOSEPH DUMPLER- Novel Proteins
  • MALIN BORG-Brazil and the Future of Food
  • ANGELIKA HILLBECK-Ecological Systems Change
  • JILL SCOTT- Communicating Food 4.0




This presentation will outline the importance of food cultures. How can food generate communities and create new traditions that are related to more sustainable practices in the future? How can food reconnect us to the land? What is the effect of technology (for example seed production) on these cultural aspects? Margaux Schwab will look at cultural, political, and social aspects of the food system, its colonial past, and our potential futures.


Margaux Schwab is the Director and founder of Foodculture Days in Vevey, Switzerland. In 2016, she founded Foodculture Days, a knowledge-sharing platform around food ecologies and politics. Foodculture Days is a Biennale in Vevey, Switzerland that serves as a catalyst for discussions and actions about society's environmental and social claims, that hosts a multitude of creative and culinary interventions. She lives and works between Berlin, Germany, and Vevey, Switzerland. She is a cultural producer and curator working at the intersection of art, ecology, and hospitality, prioritizing spaces outside the gallery context. After graduating with a degree in Hospitality Science from the Hotel School in Lausanne, Switzerland, she moved to Berlin in 2015.



Green Open Food Evolution is a dietary proposal on how to become Homo photosynthetic! Proteins from Micro- and macro algae have a great potential for human and animal nutrition. In this presentation, Maya Minder traces the tradition of seaweed as food source and its deeper connections between humans and their aquatic environments. These are ancient histories and myths that are still present in today’s native coastal cultures around the globe. The aim of Green Open Food Evolution is to use seaweed as a starting point for commodity history and to explore how the global entanglements of human food culture are aligned with global trade. Through workshops, she explores wild fermentation as a metaphor for human agitation and the processing of raw nature into cooked culture. Following feminist histories, Maya Minder uses art science and queer theories to combine them with her practice as a biohacker. The objective of Green Open Food Evolution is to write a recipe book, conceive a performance and prepare an installation of a speculative food program. She will also talk about her film project- an interview series that features artist and scientists who work on the topic of algae, local seaweed farmers and production and fusing of ideas with societal and environmental challenges. How are algae a vehicle of food and culture and what future food scenarios can humanity rely on? (Supported by Pro Helvetia, Art Council of City of Zurich, Bourse Val-de-Loire, D.D.A. - Digital Diffusion of Art, and Art2M)


Maya Minder is a Swiss artist and a specialist in lacto-fermentation.She works with bacteria, fungi and algae while applying this knowledge to her kitchen, film making, craft and design. She studied art history at the University of Zurich and and MA Fine Arts at Zurich University of Arts. She is the founder of the Open Science Lab at Zentralwaescherei Zurich and works in the field of Eatart. She has had many exhibitions and grants including Palm Magazine, Jeu de Paume, Bioclub, Tokio, Ars Electronica AEGardens Piksle, Pro Helvetia, Werkbeitrag 2018 + 2020, KADIST AWARD 2017 (nomination), Workshops and presentations at ZHAW, ZHdK Department of Design and Fine Arts, Collegium Helveticum, Nachhaltigkeitswoche ETH Zürich, ABZ Schule Zurich. Part of the Klöntal Triennale 2017 and Kunsthalle Zurich. She is also a curator and organizer of projects and festivals independent and in co-production with the International Hackteria Society. Currently, she collaborates with Ewen Chardronnet, the program and the Roscoff Biological Station – CNRS Sorbonne Universités.


Despite numerous solutions developed to date, the problems associated with excessive use of natural resources for food production, excessive consumption of animal-based products, and excessive food waste in developed countries have not been solved. Combining novel food production technologies and sustainability assessment in real-time can be a basis for the holistic development of more sustainable food systems. Advanced food production and processing approaches relying on innovative raw materials from insects and single cells, with a case study on microalgae, and their connected biorefinery concepts are the basis of this presentation. Joseph will talk about the addition of novel proteins like microalgae and insects to our diet and how these improvements can affect food security and the sustainability of protein production. He will present some implementation initiatives of these science-driven innovations with relevant industry partners and start-ups to demonstrate these impacts on the food and feed sector.  His main goal is to prevent ‘hidden food losses’ and to provide refined plant protein as a more palatable and sustainable substitute for animal protein.


Joseph Dumpler is a postdoctoral associate in the Dep. of Health Sciences and Technology (D.HEST) at ETH Zürich where he teaches sustainable food processing technologies and research plant protein extraction from food processing by-products using a novel ‘green chemistry’ approach. He has degrees in Food and Bioprocess Engineering and Dairy Science and Technology (University of Munich (TUM) and Cornell University, Ithaca, NY). He is a specialist on proteins, specifically the reaction kinetics of heat-induced aggregation of proteins in concentrated skim milk and membrane filtration technologies and microwave vacuum drying of dairy products to explore the potential of these novel products. His research group at the ETH Zürich focuses on Sustainability assessment, allowing for the integration of economic, environmental, nutritional, and social indicators into the assessment of national food systems and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The wide scope of the SDGs calls for holistic approaches that integrates ‘siloed’ food sustainability assessments to develop solutions able to change our complex global food system.


In 40 years, Brazil went from an importer of food (grains, meat, fruit and any produce) to one of the leading exporters today, feeding more than 800 million people worldwide. With a long-term vision and public institutions such as Embrapa (which provides research and innovation solutions for sustainable agriculture) but also thanks to revolutionary techniques such as syntropic agriculture, Brazil has a vital role to play in securing the future of food and overcoming challenges such as deforestation and the use of pesticides. This talk will focus on potential ways forward to address Brazil’s role in the future of food and present some technological innovations that can be of use to the world.


After five years as the Head of the Swissnex network in Switzerland, Malin Borg is back in Brazil. She holds a Master's degree in International Affairs from The Graduate Institute in Geneva and an undergraduate degree from the University of St Andrews, UK. As CEO of Swissnex in Brazil, Malin's mission is to support the outreach and active engagement of partners in the global exchange of knowledge, ideas and to foster collaboration for inspiring research and ground-breaking innovation.


Conventional food production methods are becoming obsolete. This is due to the environmental destruction that has been caused by industrialized farming methods. Today, one cannot deny the consequences of this environmental degradation. Business-as-usual is no longer an option anymore. What kinds of transformation will our societies need to take in the future? There are many proposals from different stakeholders, that require careful and critical evaluation. Their potentials and risks should aim to achieve true transformation rather than just offer ‘business-as-usual-light’ options to reducing their impact.  For agriculture, competing proposals can fall into two broad categories: technical solution packages through digitalization and biotechnological engineering or agroecological system change. Angelika Hillbeck will outline both solutions and explain why ecological system change must be the solution that guides this transformation.


Angelika Hilbeck is a senior scientist and lecturer at the ETH Zürich, Switzerland, (USYS) where she leads the group ‘Environmental Biosafety and Agroecology at the Institute of Integrative Biology. For almost 30 years, her research has focused on biosafety and risk assessment of GMOs in the context of agroecology and biodiversity. Through numerous research and capacity-building projects she has been engaged in several regions in Africa, South America, and Asia. Her research and conceptual work also contribute to the implementation and shaping of EU Directives regulating the biosafety assessment of GMOs for field and commercial releases, the (UNEP CBD) Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and capacity building in developing countries. She is an active member of the Global Chapter 3 and Synthesis Report on Biotechnology of the International Assessment Agricultural Science, Technology for Development (IAASTD), the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) and the Critical Scientists Switzerland (CSS).


In both art and science, any decisions about the future of food go hand in hand with attempts to inform the audience about the health benefits of secondary compounds from plants and encourage their understanding of the microbiome in the human gut. In the human body, secondary compounds from food operate together to promote our health and growth. In the arts, we have constructed an analogy called Aftertaste. (Supported by Pro Helvetia and The European Union 2020 Horizon Project). Here plant molecules are like families in an orchestra: they stimulate our senses of taste and smell and combine to register the flavour of food in our brain. Some molecules from these compounds like inulin and terpenes are currently being genetically edited in biotechnical labs for enhanced food production and novel medicines. What motivates these biochemists to genetically alter plants for tomorrow’s world? In this talk she shows two excerpts from a three-part series called “Chicory Unpacked” (with filmmaker Marille Hahne). The first is an animation about gene editing with CrispR-Cas9, a form of new breeding plant technology and the second one is a debate about genetic modification from 1998 and 2022, that aims to foster public discussion about the future of food.


Jill Scott is a media artist, an art and science writer and a trans-disciplinary researcher. Currently, she co-directs the LASER Salon in Zurich for Leonardo Society USA. She is professor emerita at the Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts, at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZhdK) in Zürich and founded their Artists-in-Labs Program in 2000.  Her own artwork spans 44 years of production about the human body, behaviour, and body politics. In the last 18 years she has focused on creative media art experiments about neuroscience, ecology, molecular biology, and sensory perception. Her current art and film work is about molecular science and plant genetics. She has published six books on art and science research including Neuromedia: Art and Science Research (2018), Artists-in-labs: Recomposing Art and Science (eds: 2016) and Transdiscourse 2 Turbulence and Reconstruction (ed 2015).



This Laserzurich is a collaboration between Swissnex Brazil, Life Science Zurich and the WWF Zurich. See these sites for more information and registration, three weeks before the event.




The Leonardo Art, Science, Evening Rendezvous (LASER) in Zurich offers an international platform for the discussion of paradigmatic shifts within scientific research, the implementation of new technologies and the ongoing development of artistic research. Each year, Laser features a series of talks by renowned artists, scientists, and hybrids. The Leonardo Art, Science, Evening Rendezvous (LASER) in Zurich is hosted by various organisations and takes place online and offline simultaneously. It LASER Zurich is curated by Professor Dr. Jill Scott. The partners include Life Science Zurich and the WWF World Wildlife Fund. This edition partners with Swissnex in Brazil to bring a global vision of the future of food from Brazil.

The Leonardo/ISAST LASERs are a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public. The mission of the LASERs is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building to over 50 cities around the world. To learn more about how our LASER Hosts and to visit a LASER near you please visit our website. @lasertalks

October 6th, 2022 from  6:30 PM to  9:30 PM
Soletto Cafe
Hardturmstrasse 169
Hybrid / Zurich, 8005
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