Popeye Collective | Plant-based dinner #03

Popeye Collective | Plant-based dinner #03

Discussions from Dinner #03:

  • The power of the dairy lobby - banning Oatly in Sweden from using language that is just the truth!

  • If you add a V to the beginning or a Z to the end of your product - you have yourself a vegan brand

  • 80’s vibes at the event and appeared to suit ideology of the early 20’s crowd. There is something in there about the 80’s, escapism and entitlement. I want my junk food, my environmental views met, and Don Johnson’s speed boat.

  • How few of the food stands actually knew what was in their food - as long as it’s not meat no need to know!!!

  • The balance between meat substitutes vs quality animal product free food - Vegan Nights food more a celebration of meat substitutes than representative of broader vegan diet.

  • Trendy novelty vs ideology. Evidenced by how premium the event was, in terms of energy usage - no animals had to be reared to make any of it yet the cost was as high as if they had.

  • Would meat eaters not be better won over by affordable, delicious, copious amounts of food rather than overpriced poor facsimiles of meat…

Popeye Collective | Plant-based dinner #02

Popeye Collective | Plant-based dinner #02

Discussions from Dinner #02:

  • Inevitability of plant based diets due to market forces and economics - product producers / restauranteurs who make better margins

  • Liberalism = new religion

  • tyranny of a minority - everyone can eat vegan so it becomes the default.

  • Associations we make with certain terms/language

    • ‘transitioning’ to Veganism, and ‘coming out’ to parents about it. The language of sexual identity used for dietary identity

  • seeing the framing and cultural arguments between veg and meat eaters more in terms of a battle to resolve identity as one idea of self has to die and be replaced by another.

  • What can we learn from existing cultures who have regularly eaten plant-based forever (ital / Ethiopian)

  • Exploring groups of people who live radically different lives because that might be what is needed and understanding why we currently dislike ‘others’ but there might be things we can learn from them (ie Hasidic Jews and travellers)

Why Pollen?

I just set-up a small show 'Why Pollen?' with several new works and additional supporting pieces. 

After working with pollen as pigment for a few years on the side, I needed a deadline to get some pieces finished. 

Why Pollen?  22nd Jan - 18th March @ The Haberdashery, 170 Stoke Newington High Street, London, N16 7JL. 


Why Pollen?

Rainforests, plains and prairies are being destroyed by industrial agriculture as man demands more meat.

“The livestock sector is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land... the total area dedicated to feedcrop production amounts to 33 percent of total arable land. In all, livestock production accounts for 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet.”

As pollen disperses it leaves a permanent fossil record in the earth's layers. Future geologists will see pollen monocultures in the rock where previously there was enormous biodiversity - lasting evidence of man's impact on the world.

Industrial agriculture uses increased pesticides which kill pollinators. So the bees who collect pollen and fertilise thirty percent of the world’s food are disappearing.

An interest in industrial agriculture’s environmental impact led me to pollen. I started collecting different forms of pollen and discovered its delicate and unpredictable colours. I couldn’t help but use it as pigment.

Livestock's Long Shadow: environmental issues and options". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome 2006

Starting conversations - Plant-based

Starting conversations - Plant-based

Discussions from Dinner #01:

  • Cannibalism as the far end of the eating scale.

  • Veganism and food trends as a new form of elitism.

  • Extreme anger and ridicule at plant based / vegan diet from meat eaters.

  • Is it possible to be interested in plant-based diets and not care about / be driven by animal wellbeing.

  • The language of meat and how it is applied to non-meat products.

  • Easy / everyday plant-based meals and how to turn ‘sides’ into ‘mains’.

  • As an ‘ethically’ motivated vegetarian is it intellectually corrupt to consume dairy?

Signs of Life is the longest showing digital artwork at MoMa!

I have just had an amazing call with the digital conservation team at MoMa, where my piece Signs of Life is in the permanent collection and has now been been on show for the last xx years!

They took the chance during the recent re-hang of the design galleries, to have a look inside the piece and check in with me what should happen if any of the bits of hardware were to break... ie what actually constitutes the artwork, and from a conservation point of view how can they maintain what an interactive digital artwork built in 2009 would have looked like, when their future colleagues come to take a look in say 50-100 years time. Fascinating stuff, and another delightful reminder of how exciting it is to have some work in such an important and well cared for collection.

They also let me know that to their knowledge Signs of Life is the piece of digital art/design that has been on show at MoMa for the longest period to date, which was amazing to hear and totally inspiring to get back to creating my own works again.

Below is the original film I made of the first prototype at the RCA show, an links to the Moma collection and blog about the acquisition of the piece.



By animating the stationary running man we see every day and usually ignore, Yauner gives the exit sign a life of its own and challenges the viewer to notice and observe ordinary objects.

Design Journal - The Context of Critical Design: Exhibits, Social Media and Auction Houses

After a year or two (in review etc) the paper I wrote with former colleagues at Northumbria was published in the Volume 18, Number 1 of The Design Journal - one of the leading academic Design Journals.

The paper looks at my work with video and the potential for designers to use Youtube to foster a debate beyond the primary audience of the work, the abstract is below.


Critical design and design for debate seek to critique contemporary society through the production of provocative artefacts that cause the viewer to reflect on current trends, assumptions and values. But such designs are typically displayed in relatively elitist contexts – art galleries, conference halls and academic publications. Many designers are now making short films of their work and posting them to sites like Vimeo and YouTube. This paper considers such sites as potential spaces for widening the context of critical design. It describes responses on YouTube to three videos of designs by Freddie Yauner. The Fastest Clock in the World is a clock that gives time to a millionth of a second, The Highest Popping Toaster in the World uses a compressed gas-powered mechanism to fire toast at the ceiling, Signs of Life appears to be a fire exit sign until the stick figure running for the door begins to yawn, stretch and wander out of shot to take a break. A film of each was posted to YouTube and the comments were analysed to consider the extent to which social media can be used to extend and promote the kinds of debate that critical design seeks to create. The paper outlines a method for analysing YouTube data which draws on site statistics, content analysis, grounded theory and critical theory. Viewing figures and comments indicate that such social media do have the potential to enlarge the audience for critical design although engagement may be relatively superficial. The paper argues that while critical design artefacts critique consumer society this does not prevent them from themselves becoming desirable objects to be consumed. It suggests that the context of critical design must be expanded if it is to escape this deadlock.