The Eating of Humans

Neo Futurist Dinner 08 - with Gwen van der Zwan, Krisztina Czika and Bryce Steba

1 May 2019
4 May 2019

For the development of this 5-course Neo Futurist Dinner we invited artists Gwen van der Zwan, Krisztina Czika and chef Bryce Steba to collaborate around the theme of eating humans.

This project was born out of sheer curiosity, why does consumption of the self raise so much resistance? Can it be tasty? Is it contagious? Is it ethical?

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Guest eating bread, oil, salt and blood - Course 1

Eating Humans is the 8th edition of the Neo Futurist Dinner series and is organised by Mediamatic. For these events artists and chefs are invited to arrange a banquet to discuss the future of food and Art. Some of the more science-based questions from this experiment are answered in the F.A.Q list below. However, the most interesting ones will be left for attendees to chew over.

Our chef Bryce Steba has designed a menu where body substances play an important role. Attendees of the dinner will be given a few options as to how to contribute: drawing their own blood, waxing the hair off of their skin or filing their nails into the dish. Onion-induced tears may also be harvested.

We want to challenge our guests to think about their daily consumption of animals (human or other) as well as give them the intimate experience of tasting themselves and maybe others if they wish.

Cooking with body substances is a challenge because on a first glance it seems like a sensational act. Gastronomically ambitious Steba bypasses this pitfall by creating a high-quality elegant meal. It is no way intended to shock but primarily to be tasty and to reconsider some old beliefs we hold to be true.

Gwen van der Zwan: “An important role for art is that it allows us to talk about subjects that are socially unaccepted or difficult to verbalize. When one chooses to act in an extreme way or cannot justify their deeds, you can consider: aren’t most of our acts of this nature?”

The dinner will be opened with The Bloody Mary performance by Isabel Burr Raty. In this performance Burr Raty will introduce her research on the power of female ejaculate and enhance the bloody Mary recipe. 

To avoid judicial misunderstandings Stichting Mediamatic can only serve the blood meals to those that have donated blood. Those that do not donate can enjoy a plant-based meal. It goes without saying that guests are welcome to taste each other’s dishes. Exchanging bodily fluids is the responsibility of each participant, and you can enjoy the meal fully without doing so. Note: A guest is in no way forced to donate their body substances. You are welcome to come and enjoy the meal without the human extras.

We’ve noticed that there are a lot of questions surrounding the eating of humans in general, particularly the consumption of blood. Many of these questions we also answer in our F.A.Q list. 


What human substances are used for the dinner?
Tears, blood, sweat, hair and skin 

Are animal (except human) products used?

Is the dinner vegetarian?
Yes. There’s no use of dead animals.

Is the dinner vegan?
The dinner is vegan unless you participate in giving your own blood, hair, nails or tears and consider human product as animal.

What do I eat if I don’t donate?
If you don’t donate you will receive a wonderful plant-based menu. You are welcome to try the dish of a fellow eater that has donated but only with mutual consent.

How do the tears get harvested?
We kickstart the tear production with different plant-based stimulants. 

Does everyone have to give blood?
No, only those that want to. However, the blood meals are only for the people that have donated blood.

When can I let you know that I want to donate blood or that I want to join the dinner?      
After you buy your ticket, we will send you a confirmation email asking whether you would like to participate in drawing        blood.  

Can I change my mind at a later time?
No problem, you can always stop and give your place to another person. If at a later time you decide that you want to give blood we will see if there is still an empty space. 

How does the blood get drawn?
We teach you how to draw your blood yourself with supervision and sterile equipment.

Can I eat blood if I don’t donate?
No. You can only receive meals with your own blood. If you don’t give blood you will get a different dish.

Do I get blood from other people in my meal?
No. You only get your own blood if you donate.

Do other people get my blood in their meal?
No. Unless you let someone taste your meal.

How much blood do we take for the meals and how much blood does a human have?
We take about 15 ml of blood whereas with a regular transfusion, 500 ml is taken. The average adult has between 4.5 - 5.5 liters of blood. 

Is it dangerous to drink your own blood?
In large quantities (liters) it is not healthy. In this dinner we only use 1% of a dangerous limit and is definitely a safe amount to consume.

Do you get diseases if you eat someone’s blood?
If that other person doesn’t have any special diseases then the drinking of other people’s blood is not dangerous. If the donor is sick, the drinking of their blood might present a contagious danger. You can compare it to kissing and unprotected sex. The risk is small but real. If you join the dinner with someone you have exchanged bodily fluids with more often, such as a partner, there won’t be an extra danger presented with sharing each other’s meals. Tasting the meal of those you don’t know so well is at your own risk. To repeat, you can compare the danger with unprotected sex.

There can be a risk if you consume the blood of someone you do not know, as you might not be aware of diseases they  might have. We recommend for this dinner you only consume your own blood, family members or your partners. The risk is no greater than unprotected sex.

What is the difference between human blood and animals blood?
Animal blood is extremely diverse. Pigs, sheep and cows have blood that resembles that of humans. Eating the blood of animals is something humans do often without any serious health problems.

I’m vegan and I absolutely don’t want to eat animal products.
You’re welcome to join. If you want to join in on the eating of humans will depend on  the reasons why you’re a vegan. You know those best and there will always be solely plant-based option available. We won’t use any other animal products. 

I have a nut / walnut / lactose / banana / stone fruits allergy
No problem, just let us know beforehand how we can keep that in mind. Like always,  we cook with honest ingredients and we know exactly what goes into our food. We will gladly make adjustments to the meal. 

I don’t know if I’m allergic to humans. How do I find out?
This dinner might be a good way to test that. We work with small quantities so we don’t expect an overdose. For emergencies we will have an EPI-pen behind the bar.