Artificial World Tour with Jon Cohrs


Artist Talk with Jon Cohrs February 10, 2012

Click on photo to hear audio from Artificial World Tour: tasting

(français suivera)

Artist Talk with Jon CohrsConcordia Greenhouse, 1455 de Maisonneuve W:
February 10th, 6pm
(take the elevator to the 12th Floor + follow signs to the Greenhouse)

Artificial World Tour with Jon Cohrs:  1455 de Maisonneuve W: 
February 11th, 2pm
(meet in lobby)

Artificial World Tour is a two-part event that includes an artist talk and a workshop that will look into artificial worlds. What is natural and what is artificial is increasingly more difficult to define, so we'll set out to develop our own standard of what is natural and a methodology to locate things that are artificial. We'll also look at where the two lines converge to create a new breed of items such as pharmaceuticals in water, and artificial flavoring in "all natural" by exploring the city. In the search for artificial we'll look closely for local foods, and what it can mean to be a locavore in an artificial world.
During his artist talk, Jon Cohrs will screen segments from his upcoming documentary, The Spice Trade Expedition, in which he is exploring the artificial flavour manufacturing plants that line the New Jersey shoreline.

Rencontre avec l'artiste Jon Cohrs: à la serre de Concordia, 1455 de Maisonneuve O: 
10 Février 18:00

(prendre l'ascenseur jusqu'au 12e étage + suivre les indications à la serre)

Tour du Monde Artificielle avec Jon
Cohrs: 1455 de Maisonneuve O
11 Février, 14:00

(rencontre dans le foyer)

Tour du Monde Artificielle est un événement en deux parties qui comprend une discussion avec l'artiste et un atelier qui se penchera sur des mondes artificiels. Ce qui est naturel et ce qui est artificiel est de plus en plus difficile à définir, donc nous allons énoncées à développer notre propre norme de ce qui est naturel et une méthodologie pour localiser des choses qui sont artificielles. Nous allons aussi regarder où les deux lignes convergent pour créer une nouvelle race d'objets tels que les produits pharmaceutiques dans l'eau, et des arômes artificiels dans «tout naturel» en explorant la ville. Dans la recherche d'artificiel nous allons examiner de près pour les aliments locaux, et ce qu'elle peut signifier d'être un locavore dans un monde artificiel.

Au cours de sa discussion,
Jon Cohrs montrera segments de son prochain documentaire, The Spice Trade Expedition, dans lequel il explore la fabrication des saveurs artificielles dans les usines qui bordent la rive du New Jersey.

le/the Sensorium gratefully acknowledges support from the Centre for Sensory Studies (Concordia), the Special Individualized Programs (SIP, Concordia), the Concordia Council on Student Life, The Concordia University Alumni Association, the Concordia University Small Grants Program and the Concordia University Greenhouse


  1. One of the most interesting things about this presentation (or at least the first half of it, which I attended) was the spirit of critical exploration the artist summons in his works. To me, his projects recall the spirit of early scientists and experimenters who would go out into the world to learn about its contours and inner workings in order to be better prepared to intervene in it. His explorations/interventions are, however, informed by a critical positioning that corresponds with the time-places we live in: highly sophisticated human-made worlds that have blurred the boundaries between natural and artificial and call for discerning political subjects. I see the artist’s engagement in certain technological processes (from medicinal salt making to pirate TV productions) as interventions in a DIY fashion that recall the early stages of technological and scientific developments, a time when curiosity and critical inquiry was not limited by academic and disciplinary frameworks. This was an inspiring talk, and its provocations particularly stimulating for projects that attempt to bridge academic research, lived worlds, and experimental art practices.

  2. While I was participating to the Artificial World tour, my first reaction was to think that 'natural' only means 'cultural' in the sense that what could be categorized as 'natural' is entirely individual specific and dependant on my parents' habits, my habits, the place where I was raised and the places where I have travelled. The 'real' taste of figs is the one I remember from my trip to Greece in 2004. A cucumber should taste like the ones my mom used to grow in our garden. I don't care weather or not this is artificial vanilla flavour but don't you dare try me with artificial maple syrup flavour. I guess we create reference points for different tastes throughout our lives, (land)marks from which to read the quality of things we experience. Upon that reflection, I was sure that this workshop would not modify my consumer eating habits because these are strongly rooted in my personal geography of tastes.

    But it slightly did. The orange juice was a good case study. I still drink orange juice even now that I have heard that natural orange flavour has to be added to it after the pasteurization process. But every time I drink it, I think about it. I think about the taste engineers testing what could be their customer's ideal orange taste. I try to find the difference in taste between the brands. Then I think about eating an orange instead. Habits haven't changed, but awareness did. My mornings still need orange juice, but it feels more now like taking a vitamin. And when I have time, I just press a fresh orange (but I must say: like my mom used to...)

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