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Exclusive Preview: Sensing Terroir: A Harvest Food Opera

Artists in Contexts & Jutta Friedrichs

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM (PST)

Exclusive Preview: Sensing Terroir: A Harvest Food...

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As we are gearing up for Sensing Terroir: A Harvest Food Opera, the second collaboration between celebrated chef Jason Bond and composer Ben Houge, we are inviting our local community for an exclusively priced preview.  As a way of feeding (nurturing) the local arts we would like to share this unique multi-sensory experience with a small group of artists, organizers and academics. Chef Jason Bond will prepare a squash-based lunch, with real-time algorithmic accompaniment by Ben Houge, a preview of the full course meal that evening. 

Limited Seating available. 

Sensing Terroir: A Harvest Food Opera

Artists in Context and artist/producer Jutta Friedrichs are presenting Sensing Terroir: A Harvest Food Opera, the second collaboration between acclaimed chef Jason Bond (of Bondir restaurant in Cambridge) and iconoclastic composer and digital media artist Ben Houge, following their widely acclaimed Food Opera: Four Asparagus Compositions, premiered last spring at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.  Sensing Terroir is a multi-sensory, multi-course exploration of the links in the local food chain.  By forging an experiential bond between the senses of taste and sound, participants are sensually immersed in the story of sustainable food practices.  Interviews and field recordings from New England farms are set in a musical framework, establishing a virtual terroir that provides an environmental context for food consumption. Through an array of speakers, custom-designed by Stephan Moore, 30 channels of audio deliver a customized experience to each diner's ear and turn the restaurant into a rich, lively soundscape.


Predicated on the notion of haute cuisine as a time-based art form, the food opera presents a drama in which the plate is the stage, using custom software to score a meal like a video game, responding to the real-time cues of the dining room to create a customized soundtrack for each diner. Building on harmony, texture, color, development and form, common concepts to both gastronomy and music composition, Sensing Terroir revels in the experiential fusion of aural and oral perception.


The return to local farming—a reaction against the anonymous machinery of mass food production in the era of urbanization, industrialization and globalization—is a trend that aims to bring the producer, supplier and consumer into a transparent and sustainable economic model. Community gardens, local sourcing, co-ops and volunteer food processing events are ways of building connections and community.  In Sensing Terroir, we enter a shared environment drawn from the fields and farms in which the ingredients of the meal were grown and harvested. As each participant makes choices from a modular menu, a soundscape emerges to support each course, illuminating the bonds between producer, chef and consumer.  Together these personalized environments blend into a larger landscape that renders the diverse ecology of New England food production.


About Jason Bond:

Jason Bond is a visionary chef whose Cambridge restaurant, Bondir, has won wide acclaim since opening in November 2010.  Boston Magazine wrote that Bondir “deserves to be a place of pilgrimage for visiting and local foodies alike…In its humble way, Bondir serves some of the most elegantly conceived and executed dishes in the area.”  Chef Bond has been a critical presence in Harvard’s Science and Cooking series, devising menus for courses and serving food to visiting, celebrated chefs including Harold McGee, Grant Achatz, Nathan Myhrvold, and Ferran Adrià.  At Bondir, everything is made in-house, and Chef Bond composes a new menu daily, which allows him to incorporate the freshest ingredients from the highest quality local providers, combining traditional and modern techniques to present honest, flavorful food.  For more information, visit


About Ben Houge:

Ben Houge is an artist working in real-time, responsive systems, and a 16-year veteran of the video game industry; his score to the 2001 role-playing gameArcanum was recently listed by Forbes as one of the Top 12 Video Game Soundtracks of All Time.  From 2004 to 2010 he lived in Shanghai, where he was active in China’s underground sound and art scene.  His work has been presented at the Today Art Museum in Beijing, True Color Museum in Suzhou, the Shanghai eArts Festival, the San Diego Museum of Art, On the Boards in Seattle, Studio Z in St. Paul, Kuona Trust in Nairobi and the Boston Cyberarts Festival.  Ben currently teaches video game music at Berklee College of Music, and earlier this year he was an artist-in-residence with the MIT Media Lab’s Responsive Environments group, working to sonify data from real-time sensor networks.  For more about Ben Houge, please visit


About Producer Jutta Friedrichs:

Jutta Friedrichs recently completed her Master’s Degree in Art, Design and the Public Domain with Krzysztof Wodiczko at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In her writings and multi-channel audio-visual installations, she explores cultural and phenomenological interrelations between body and the built environment. She recently co-founded a start-up company bringing the arts to emerging businesses. For more about Jutta Friedrichs, please visit


About Sound Designer Stephan Moore: 

Stephan Moore is a composer, improvisor, audio artist, sound designer, teacher, and curator based in Brooklyn and Providence. His creative work currently manifests as electronic studio compositions, solo and group improvisations, sound installation works, scores for collaborative performance pieces, and sound designs for unusual circumstances. Evidence, his long-standing project with Scott Smallwood, has performed widely and released several recordings over the past decade. He also collaborates frequently with the performance groups The Nerve Tank and a canary torsi. His company, Isobel Audio, produces versatile Hemisphere speakers for a variety of electronic music and installation purposes. and

About Artists in Context:

Artists in Context is a flexible organizational framework designed to assemble artists and other creative thinkers across disciplines to conceptualize new ways of representing and acting upon the critical issues of our time.  Artists in Context is a project of The Arts Company, based in Cambridge, MA. For more about Artists in Context please visit


Last spring’s Food Opera: Four Asparagus  was featured on NPR, Grub Street, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National.  Peruse the links below for listening samples and more information:


Have questions about Exclusive Preview: Sensing Terroir: A Harvest Food Opera? Contact Artists in Contexts & Jutta Friedrichs
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When & Where

Bondir Restaurant
279A Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM (PST)

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