MIS, Food Friction

In November of 2018 we were commissioned by food designer Katja Gruijters to create an interactive piece for the Food Friction conference at Musis in Arnhem. The conference Food Friction was about artistic research and the interaction between food and behaviour. Considering how the commercial food industry has standardised the size, shape and colour of vegetables and fruits, it marred our understanding of what a vegetable of piece of fruit is supposed to look like. Vegetables and fruit that are perfectly suitable for consumption are being discarded based on their looks. 


Based on this selective behaviour of deciding whether a natural item is so-called good or not we created the Measure Imperfect System (MIS). Drawing parallels with the mental state of selecting the average food item, that is perfect for the supermarket and therefor for consumption, we created criteria for the persons that had to enter the Food Frictions venue. Anyone who would want to enter the conference was, weighed, measured, and asked one question. If they failed to meet the criteria, they would be asked to step aside as they were “discarded” and anyone who did manage to meet the criteria was packaged wrapped ready to enter the rest of the conference. 


The MIS stirred various emotions and thoughts by the unexpecting visitors ranging from humours delight to genuine anger of the whole process of selecting human characteristics. The aim of the MIS was to create an awareness of the state of mind on how we look at our food and how senseless and wasteful this process of selection is. 


MIS stand for Measure Imerfect System. The customer can buy various kinds of vegetables at the grocery store. Most vegetables, when presented have the same color, size and weight. But a lot of vegetables do not make it through the sorting phase and won reach the store. They were to ugly, too big, too small of too deformed to be sold. With our measurement system we will sort out humans, and left them be subjected to the same sorting method as the imperfect vegetables.