Lichen are composite organisms, part algae, part fungi, living in a mutualistic relationship. Lichens have properties different from those of their component organisms, and co-create each others living conditions in a symbiotic, interdependent exchange.



CHIMERA (noun)
a (capitalized): a fire-breathing she-monster in Greek mythology having a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail
b: an imaginary monster compounded of incongruous parts
2: an illusion or fabrication of the mind

especially an unrealizable dream

“A fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayer”John Donne

“His utopia was a chimera.”

3 An individual, organ, or part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution

“A hybrid created through fusion of a sperm and an egg from different species is a chimera.”



Watch Yummy Body Truck on Vimeo.


Microscope photograph of the Blue Green Algae Cylindrospermum, a genus of cyanobacteria.



Adjusting the air conditioning, 1955








Words by Bethany Rigby
Chapter 2: Self
Oslo, September 2022

Behind an unsuspecting door on a rainy street in Oslo, a small group of people came together across two days to reimagine what bodies could be.

Creating a space for thinking of and around flesh, designer Noam Youngrak Son’s workshop Chimera Gastronomy is an immersion into a new way of seeing ‘beings’ and in turn, seeing ourselves and each other. Beginning in a dark side room, Youngrak Son speaks on the undercurrents that guide the workshop; on how this open experiment grows from an imagination of multi species taste, and contextualises the soon-to-exist Norwegian chimera amongst glass eels migrating to the Sargasso Sea, imitation lobster and turkey dinosaurs. The voice of the Chimera in Youngrak Son’s film introduces the bio-political tensions at play when discussing bodies; pigments, hormones, size, shame, pollution, waste, toxins, rhythms. These are not neutral features amongst the consumerist, capitalist frameworks our human bodies exist within, but during this workshop (and beyond) Youngrak Son extends an invitation to hijack, hack and speculate beyond such limiting restrictions. “Remember your flesh is as malleable as me”

[Stills from the Yummy Body Truck film]

The workshop begins with each participant choosing an ecological agent before materialising and speculating the flesh of this agent using edible properties in the form of dough. Then, individual organs are designed and built from the dough, before being collaboratively combined into a new organism, the Chimera. Once this being exists, it is imagined into our current ecosystem. Both days are bookended with a publication; the first being Youngrak Son’s ecological agent guide, and the second capturing the workshop outputs in a zine collaboratively produced by the group.

An ecological agent is something that influences ecology and can be made of living matter or non-living; giant kelp, a domestic cat, a mosquito, a hydropower dam, severed fibre-optic cables, yeast, sea urchins, concrete. Whilst choosing their agents, participants explored their own personal affinity towards them  “…it was raining a lot where I was, and e-coli was released into the waterways and I couldn’t swim…”. Generative and warm storytelling emerged from biological and etymological details listed on the agent guides provided. As participants offered their connections, Noam offered further insight on each agent- speaking on how “the printed surface is always confined” and as such the guides act as starting points to begin thinking of the potential tactile manifestation of new organisms.

The Oslo chimera’s chosen ecological agents with distinct characteristics offered by participants:

  • Cyanobacteria – producing oxygen, bubbling, photosynthesising.
  • Honey Badger – most fearless animal, intelligent, rubbery skin and anal pouch.
  • Air Con – fresh, artificial, nasty, there is one air con unit for every two people that exist- the hubris of manufactured surroundings for comfort, but at what cost? 
  • E.Coli – dies outside the body, cheap bacteria to grow for research, there has been a computer invented that is running on e.coli.
  • Lichen – exists as a stable unit of two organisms working together. It is edible, but not widely eaten. It is specifically prepared as a delicacy by some North American Indigenous communities.

A supermarket expedition provides the edible materials for the dough, with each ingredient reflecting a characteristic of the ecological agents, (Eg. Puffed wheat for cyanobacteria, because air from the wheat represents oxygen produced during photosynthesis) and the sculpting of organs takes place. Escaping human-centric thinking and reimagining what a body part could be, there are conversations of ear buds, intimacy, sensors, face fillers, nipples, and 3D scans. The process of re-framing biological components generates a profound kindness of thought toward non-normative bodies, massaging the dough into shape and adding irregular texture, smells and pigment- anything is welcome (and celebrated) here. Scales are stretched when reviewing the newly created organs; (“fist sized e.coli”) and connections emerge laterally as the separate dough parts are combined together: the Chimera is a collaboratively assembled creature. 

[The Oslo Chimera is given the name Honeys-Aaioleria]

The chimera made of reimagined organs built from edible flesh is then contextualised into reality by speculatively constructing its ecology. Where does it live? Does it migrate? How does it move? Does it reproduce? What does it eat? What eats it? How does it affect the atmosphere? Does it make communities? How does it change the eco-system? How permeable is the body? How does it communicate? Answering these questions took the form of co-writing; splicing extracts from the agent guides with post-it sized stories to populate the surface around the chimera with detail. Building the networks around the chimera and exploring how it might move within, against and around the familiar frameworks of our world generates a more-than-human perspective on its existence. Openness, acceptance and commonality.

In widening the conversation about bodies into the realm of the outlandish and the bizarre, whilst remaining firmly tethered by sound logic, Youngrak Son proves it is not only possible, but exciting, to think beyond the self and instead of others.

Thank you to Noam Youngrak Son, Bethany Rigby and Bjørnar Pedersen for photos.

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