Today I took in the wonderful NYU ITP show, which provides an opportunity once every semester for students to show off all sorts of innovative projects on the interface between art and technology. Some pieces are feasts for your inner geek, while others are variously odd, kinetic, musical, dramatic or simply beautiful.
And then there are the thoughtful ones. Every semester a few students create something that makes you really think. One of those projects this time around was Human Cheese by Miriam Simun. Yes dear reader, the eponymous food product in question is made from the breast milk of human volunteers.
This is not the first time the topic of human cheese has been thought of, but it’s the first time I had encountered it. And it really made me think.
One reason I don’t eat cheese is that to raise cows for their milk generally involves getting rid of the (economically unnecessary) male cows. Male calves, in standard practice, are kept alive just long enough to be slaughtered and turned into meat. Which means that every time you eat cheese, somewhere veal is also being served.
But human cheese completely changes the equation. All of the milk is volunteered, on a basis of informed consent.
Yes, I know, on a purely cultural level, serving “human” food probably violates taboos left and right. Yet, ironically, this might very well be the only “animal product” that creates no ethical conflicts at all for vegans.
In any case, it’s certainly food for thought. 🙂