Past exhibitions

Food and power

07.11.2008 - 27.09.2009

When we eat, it's about pleasure, nutrition, health - and power! Powerful people like to use food to achieve their goals. Because food is a vital and coveted resource, it is particularly easy to manipulate people. And those who control the cultivation, processing and trade of food have a lot of power.

The exhibition surprises how in many ways power is exercised with the help of food.  

In the supermarket, for example, we consumers have the power to decide between chocolate for which children may have worked and fairly produced chocolate.

Powerful people also like to use food to achieve their goals. They invite their faithful to spectacular banquets. The richly laden table demonstrates the supremacy of the host. In wars, they shamelessly exploited their positions of power and punished their enemies with hunger.

Refusing food can also bring power and prestige. In prison, prisoners go on hunger strike to rouse the public and put pressure on the state authorities.

Because food is so necessary and coveted, those who control the cultivation, processing and trade of food also have a lot of power. Wholesalers make a killing, while small farmers barely make ends meet.

"I'm not eating that soup!" Many families can sing a song about power struggles over food.




Exhibition curators
Franziska Rüttimann
Karin Renold

Overall management
Franziska Rüttimann, Museum Mühlerama

Exhibition construction
Andreas Bommer

Design & Graphics
Cornelia Staffelbach
Gabrielle Schmid

Franziska Rüttimann
Karin Renold

Staffeldruck AG

Total costs
CHF 64'682.70

Exhibition catalog
Franziska Rüttimann, Karin Renold
ISBN 978-3-033-01939-3

With the financial support of
Pro Helvetia
Ernst Göhner Foundation
Dr. Adolf Streuli Foundation
Migros Culture Percentage
City of Zurich