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Emerge event showcases art, science you can sink your teeth into

With a variety of interactive installations, researchers, entertainment and vendors, Emerge 2022: Eating at the Edges aims to provide more than just food for thought. 

The festival, to be held on Nov. 19 in Mesa, will explore the concept of eating in a world of environmental extremes. 

The event is presented by entities from within Arizona State University and the city of Mesa, including the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the Mesa Arts Center. Festivities begin at noon and run until 7 p.m. at the Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center in downtown Mesa. Admission for the festival is free. 

“Emerge is all about helping people imagine and experience their futures,” said ASU Assistant Professor Christy Spackman, organizer for this year’s Emerge. “We’re showing the future of food in more than 40 exhibits, which range from hands-on workshops to live music themed around the structure of a meal.” 

2022 marks the ninth edition of Emerge, which experienced a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Experiences at this year’s festival include food art installations, Mesa Arts Center’s MABEL (Mobile Arts Based Engagement Lab) and film screenings. One such art installation, the Pixel Plate, is a student-led conceptualization of a potential future kitchen appliance. In this imagined future, the kitchen appliance would take meal tickets and then 3D print edible meals such as “Dune donuts” and “Dalek dumplings.” 

“We’re imagining the future in a very conceptualized way with the Pixel Plate,” said Kassidy Breaux, a graphic information technology lecturer who worked with students to create the Pixel Plate. “Nothing at the exhibit is edible, but it explores just one possibility of what the future of food could look like.” 

In addition to art, Emerge will feature musicians Sophie and Alex Dorsten, Izzy Mahoubi and band, Vaughn Willis and Ear Candy, and the Gustavi Angeles Band. All performances will take place on the Alliance Pavilion Stage. Also featured at the festival is improv from the Neighborhood Comedy Theatre, which will perform three sets throughout the event. And no food festival would be complete without food trucks and vendors, which will be set up across the festival site.

“We have artists coming from Australia and Ukraine — Indigenous chefs who bring their knowledge to the table,” Spackman said. “We are all here together to experience how our past and present can influence our futures.”