Previewing an upcoming exhibition co-organized with The Center for Land-Use Interpretation (CLUI), Nicola Twilley, of Edible Geography, takes us on an abbreviated tour of North America's coldscape, the “vast and immeasurable volume of thermally controlled space” that “is as ubiquitous as it is varied.” Exactly how varied? According to her undoubtedly incomplete list for Cabinet Magazine, these spaces of “distributed artificial winter” include shipping containers, floating fish factories, international seed banks, livestock semen storage, cheese caves, banana-ripening rooms and sushi coffins.
These are spaces in which a perpetual winter has distorted or erased seasonality; spaces that are located within an energy-intensive geography of previously unimaginable distance—both mental and physical—between producers and consumers. Artificial refrigeration has reconfigured the contents of our plates and the shape of our cities—it has even contributed to the overthrow of governments, as anyone familiar with the rise and fall of United Fruit can attest. Perhaps most bizarrely, although their variations in form reflect the particular requirements of the perishable product they host, coldspaces have, in turn, redesigned food itself, both in terms of the selective breeding that favors cold-tolerance over taste and the more fundamental transition from food as daily nourishment to food as global commodity.
Information about the CLUI exhibition is, I'm hoping, forthcoming.