Play with your food. The arrival of the Food Curator: a new role in the art world which Ainara Murillo has pioneered in our country

Food and art have always gone hand in and. Today, the role of food has changed and gone from representation to performance: it has left the canvas and become the actual art medium. And from the many artists working on Food Art has emerged the role of a new specialist in the area, the Food Curator. Ainara Murillo, a former student of the Masters of Design and Innovation 2014, is aware of this and self-defines as such, having pioneered this role in our country to develop her professional career.

Ainara Murillo - Masters of Design and Innovation 2014

Ainara Murillo

Degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the Universidad de Navarra and Master of European Design Labs from the IED Madrid. She has carried out her professional career as a creative in the world of communication and advertising creativity in Madrid, founding and being a former partner of Viernes, a creative studio. At present she lives in Barcelona, where she focuses on her role as food curator

Ainara first became aware of the world of Food Art during her thesis project for the Master of European Design Labs at the IED Madrid: Jellyfish or Eat Transparencies. With this project she sought to reflect on a possible future scenario where the seas are left without fish by means of a perfoodmance. The event explored several culinary proposals using jellyfish, a species which is abundant in all oceans, as the main ingredient.

Since then she has directed her career to working as a food curator, whose activities are diverse: from curating exhibition designing experiences and events and giving lectures to producing editorial works. She has also created CuratingFood, a digital platform for editorial content linked directly to Food Art and Food Design.

What does it mean to be a Food Curator?

Food Art and Food Design are not very well known in our country, so my aim is to change this. This is why I describe myself as an independent Food Curator. My work involves developing ideas and concepts that convey knowledge, raise awareness and offer a reflection around food. It is a matter of being able of initiating an open debate, playing the role of intermediary between the culture and creative industry, institutions and brands and spectators. These abstract concepts I develop can be explained by means of the food we eat and the day to day objects we use in the ritual of eating each day; projects which reflect on our customs and on our way of communicating by means of food.

Your background is as a publicist and that is what you did for many years. Why did you decide to go from advertising to conceptual design?

I could see that what I had done for eleven years was no longer satisfying to me. I needed a change so I registered for the Master of European Design Labs at the IED Madrid, to develop my conceptual and experimental facets using design.
Food seemed to be the perfect tool to communicate my concepts and my reflections and I learnt about the new world of Food Design and Eating Design. It could be said that my thesis project for the master, Jellyfish or Eat Transparencies, was the origin of the new me.

What sparked your interest in the world of food and art?

Food is culture. Because of this, what we eat influences our environment –our culture, natural environment and economy– and us –our behaviour, our body and the configuration of our senses and memories–. This versatility makes food a powerful vehicle to raise awareness and resolve future challenges faced by society.

Tell us about your CuratingFood project. Where does it come from and where is it going?

CuratingFood is an online platform for editorial content which celebrates the socialising power of food and its cross-disciplinary nature. It emerges from the need to share my concepts, my research, and create a community that is interested in food, beyond the foodie boom. The idea is to become a reference point in the world of art, design and food.

What are you working on? Do you have other parallel projects?

Right now I’m in the midst of a lovely creative project, but I cannot say much more than that just yet. It will be refreshing, though!

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