Bompas & Parr

Tongue Town

A collaboration with the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo celebrating the studio's first ten years of creativity.
Tongue Town

A decade of dedication

Sao Paulo, 2017: Amid the recreated setting of an olde English market town, the studio presented a retrospective of some of its most captivating installations over the previous decade, alongside select new works.


The multi-sensory experience explores contemporaneous research into flavour perception and the body, plus trends and forecasts affecting our relationship with food, inviting guests to engage with flavour from unusual perspectives.

Tongue Town comprised a series of installations that address the past, present and future of food, presented as parts of an English town with a typical architectural style from the 15th century.


The atmosphere evoked dusk, with all the mysterious appearances brought by the approaching night: food is experienced through several ways – the palate, smell, touch, vision and sound. The past of food was presented through a collection of objects and images; the present appeared as the world of Bompas and Parr; and the future was explored in the “Pharmacy”, with works that explored the realm of science fiction.

Tongue Town set out to provide an entertaining and educational experience that challenged visitors to think more deeply about what is on the end of your fork, to appreciate the process of their full taste and digestive system, and to experience taste in a number of unpredictable ways.


The exhibition featured:
 - 302 curated objects from Bompas & Parr’s archives
- Mouth Entrance: Internalising Food
 - Initiation ritual with the Town Crier; know thy palate!
 - Sweet Shop: Unmoulding Food, the early story of Bompas & Parr
 - Tavern – A strawberry weather system for your tongue
 - Wandering Plant – a curious shrub that self-consciously explores the exhibition with you
 - School Room – Theory of Food – the studio's design methodology, shaped over a decade.
 - Top Ten Feasts in History
 - Soyer Memorial Library

- British Menu Archive
- Doctor’s: Being Food. This includes pill cam footage of the digestive tract and a stomach bouncy castle by Andy Best and Merja Puusteinen
 - Illustrations from early collaborator Emma Rios
 - Sound design by constant partner Dom James
 - Tongue-based wishing well by Candida
 - Stocks for food-based humiliation
 - Theatre: Playing Food. a selection of Bompas & Parr’s food films
 - Pharmacy: The Future of Food
 - Apotropaic marks
 - Archaic chalices



Curatorial note by Felipe Chaimovich curator of MAM

What is the future of food? As we face growing ecological challenges, the debate about the strategies for feeding humanity must involve artists, industrial designers, and scientists in a creative collaboration. The British team Bompas and Parr took this initiative ten years ago, and they bring to Brazil for the first time the world they invented.

Sam Bompas and Harry Parr are both the partners behind the company with their name and the two characters that perform in banquets, films, museums, books, and flamboyant events all around the world. In order to develop their poetics, they have been working with different professionals, such as musicians, food historians, academic scientists, contemporary artists, food and beverage industrial designers, and graphic designers. The result is a unique set of works that are redefining the relationship between art and food.

All the issues in Tongue Town are treated in a unique style: fantasy, party, and the typical British sense of humour. Thus we address art and gastronomy celebrating a decade of Bompas and Parr.