Metabolic Soup

Metabolic Soup presents a series of questions as to the nature of food production, consumption and our place in the chain.

Using ingredients that consist of living animal matter this soup starter presents a dish/food stuff that is actively transforming and digesting itself. It consists of living animal matter*, that is engaged in the digestion of an experimental vegetable stock**?

Since the soup is an experimental bio-matter, it can be viewed as potentially hazardous and its presentation as a foodstuff creates further problems since it has not been licensed for consumption, sale or export (and hence must be disguised if being transported.)

As this starter cannot safely be consumed (or offered for consumption) it must instead be a dish for contemplation – eye candy – engaged in a process of its own metabolism. Please enjoy.


The living animal matter component of the dish is composed of living stem-cells extracted from the marrow of a shop-bought joint of meat. These materials are cultivated using a DIY equivalent of standard tissue culture procedures (which would typically be used in the biological science industry for growing cell materials outside of a body.)

The experimental vegetable stock product used, is a product in development, and is not publicly available for sale; it has explicitly not yet been tested or determined safe for consumption by humans or animals (although it can be consumed in an experimental context by the cells.)


Starter served at 37 degrees featuring living animal matter engaged in the digestion of an experimental vegetable stock. (Not yet tested on humans or animals).

1. In a sterile, laboratory, environment, prepare one fresh pig knee joint for primary cell extraction procedure by coating in ethanol.

2. Using a scalpel, scrape and chop up bone marrow from inside the bone and place fragmented, sterile, matter in test tube to be centrifuged.

3. Suspend isolated pluripotent mesenchymal stem cells in tissue culture media and sustain with fatal calf serum.

4. Incubate and passage for required quantity generations.

5. Heat experimental animal-free media to 37 degrees in water bath.

6. Transplant living bone marrow cells into vegetable media stock.

7. Enclose in thermos flask and seal for unlicenced international transportation.

8. Metabolic Soup must not be consumed: this dish is an offering for the future, engaged in a process of its own digestion. Serve as a conversation-starter.


Metabolic Soup protocol and recipe developed by John O’Shea and Monika Bakke as part of their Trans-Species Menu for presentation at DEAF 2012 (Dutch Electronic Art Festival) Rotterdam, as part of ARTMEATFLESH! An Evening of… Symbiotica hosted by Oron Catts.