‘Nuclear soup’: Japanese duo to serve Fukushima broth at London art fair
Would you eat radioactive soup? That’s the somewhat unappetizing question facing visitors to next month’s Frieze art fair in London.
The fair, which is known for its eccentric conceptual art, will see a new project in which brothers Tomoo and Ei Arakawa, who go under the performance name “United Brothers”, make a soup using vegetables grown in Fukushima, the Japanese prefecture hit in march 2011 by one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.
The region faced a devastating earthquake and tsunami which caused the reactors to melt and nuclear material to seep out.
As a result, thousands of residents of the area suffered permanent health damage, particularly after consuming certain foods and water.
The project, called “Does this soup taste ambivalent?” was created in solidarity with victims affected by the nuclear disaster, the effects of which are still being felt today.
The soup’s main ingredient is the Daikon radish, a staple food in Fukushima.
The brothers, who are originally from Ikawa in Fukushima, will also involve their mother in the project. Throughout the festival, she will be making soup using the vegetables.
The brothers have insisted that the soup is safe for consumption.
Describing the exhibit, the frieze catalogue says that sharing food is a "gift” that “represents the essence of hospitality, sharing and humanity”.
“However, the soup United Brothers offer is laced with the (conceptual) possibility that it may be radioactive,” it adds.
Frieze director Matthew Soltover also assured the public that the food has been tested and is safe, and that the art was actually a test of the “psychological barrier”.
“It’s one of those projects where you don’t know if there is going to be a huge queue or whether no one is going to go near it,” he told The Independent.
The exhibit will be one of the many exhibitions taking place at the 12th Frieze art fair in London, which involves 160 contemporary art galleries.
The fair will take place in Regent’s Park between 15-18 October, and will include a number of works from Turner Prize winners.