FATBERG: Building An Island of Fat
FATBERG: Building An Island of Fat
Join us in creating the world’s first community built island of fat in Amsterdam – the FATBERG.
Join us in creating the world’s first community built island of fat in Amsterdam – the FATBERG. Read more
About this project
WHY AN ISLAND OF FAT?
Fat is “the” iconic substance of our time. It relates to health, energy, beauty, ecology and consumption. Yet society appears to have lost its appreciation for this material. We aim to change this by giving fat its own autonomous space. We are building the world’s first community built island of fat.
Reimagining society's relationship with fat
While we are fully aware that building an island of fat might sound like a rather surreal thing to do, we believe it is necessary to stimulate a new understanding of this extremely important, and fascinating material. Building a “floating island of fat”, we aim to make this vital substance visible without falling into preconceived notions of what fat is, how it functions, what it means, or how we should regard it as a society. Our ultimate goal, is that FATBERG develops its own cultural presence, becoming a point of reference, existing outside of the current debate surrounding fat. On and around this island, we plan a public programme of events, investigating fat and its cultural, economic and social relevance as well as to infuse it with new meaning.
The building process...
The island is built from fat, though we don’t discriminate on which type. The process is simple: we drip liquid warm fat onto the surface of the floating embryonic island. As the added fat solidifies it merges with the surface causing the island to grow. Yet, to reach the point where a large ball of fat reaches a size we can confidently call an island, requires a huge collective effort, which is why FATBERG needs you.
We are searching for co-owners of the island.
FATBERG recently moved to its new home at NDSM-Shipping Wharf in Amsterdam. Together with MU Artspace, Stichting NDSM, architects Space&Matter and construction company Autarkhome we are working on a floating construction site, where in the spring of 2017 we will start building the island.
Together we will explore a new cultural understanding of fat
We are looking to connect with curious members of the public, as well as industry and academics to together, not only construct this community FATBERG, but to collectively explore a new cultural understanding of fat. To reach this ambition, we plan a public programme of events to debate the wide range of themes and issues related to fat. Imagine joining the building of the FATBERG, discussing new forms of energy, diving into the scientific nitty gritty of fat's properties, fatty food tasting events and cooking courses, or even scuba tours around the island. We quite possibly need your fat too. One of our rewards is a luxury container for collecting fat, symbolising fat as a valuable material not to be discarded lightly.
Every pledger becomes a co-owner of the worlds first community built island of fat and together we will explore what fat is and what it needs to be.
WHO ARE WE?
Since its birth in 2014 at MU Artspace, FATBERG collaborates with designer-artists Mike Thompson and Arne Hendriks, who promote its care, growth, and attention in the public eye. Both have worked extensively in the space between design, art, science and collective action. FATBERG too aspires to exist precisely here, in the interdisciplinary yet very real space where what we think we know is challenged and evolves.
When he’s not helping to build a giant island of fat, Mike Thompson runs Thought Collider, an experimental, critical design research studio based in Amsterdam. Thought Collider are perhaps best known for their Latro and Rhythm of Life projects as well as Kindred Spirits, which is nominated at this years Dutch Design Awards. Mike’s interests lie in exploring the meanings and values that emerge from alternative experiences with materials and emerging technologies, and how this might challenge existing codes of conduct.
Arne Hendriks is an artist and radical ecologist. He explores the cultural values that define our relationship with the planet. You might already know Arne’s work from projects such as The Incredible Shrinking Man for which he was presented with a Dutch Design Award, the Repair Manifesto which led to a re-appreciation of the noble art of repair, and his Instructables Restaurant, the world's first completely open-source eatery. Arne has a passion for investigating things we think we know but perhaps don't, in ways that are both disruptive and creative.
Mike and Arne share the urge to help FATBERG grow to reach its full potential and trigger a new cultural understanding of fat.
Starting from a single drop of fat, FATBERG today exists in an embryonic state, waiting to grow bigger. The project therefore has two stretched goals:
In Spring 2016, we were kindly offered an old shipping launch platform in Amsterdam as FATBERG's home. This is an amazing opportunity for FATBERG to finally grow to the size it has always aspired to. Collaborating with renowned architectural agency Space&Matter, MU Artspace, and construction company Autarkhome, we envisage a construction site for building the fat island, consisting of moveable pontoons. We will make use of an innovative foam concrete, allowing each pontoon to be designed and built with a specific function in mind, from the collecting and rendering of fat, to a visitors centre including a small lab and office facility. The FATBERG site will further act as home for the public programme, where we will schedule events exploring society’s relationship with fat.
Building a construction site and public programme for FATBERG has been our dream since the birth of the project in October 2014. In collaboration with architects Space&Matter, we started the design and prototyping phase of the construction site in early summer 2016 and have already begun planning events for the public programme in the spring of 2017 with our colleagues at NDSM.
Risks and challenges
We already have all necessary partners on board and are confident we have set ourselves realistic targets for the coming 10 months. Over the last 2 years, while still in its embryonic state, the project has attracted the attention of both the press and public. We believe that once this island really exists as an autonomous entity, and even while it's being built, it will attract even more, and people will feel compelled to talk about and visit the island. We can not, however, control how and in what way people will respond, and if the general public will help us collect enough fat to truly speak of a collective effort. Ducks and fish might also try to eat the island during its growth, but this is something we are prepared for, as it becomes a natural part of the investigation and the projects story. With your support we, together, will make the impossible possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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