Three Consequences of Scarcity - Truffle Triptych
Taking in consideration the truffles from Piedmont, northern Italy, I have analysed what the scarcity of a natural product lead to: a research for alternative methods of production; an increase of costs for the wild supply; a resulting black market and deceitful tactics to avoid the taxes and law.
NATURAL V.S. MASS PRODUCTION
Most truffles are harvested in the wild and since the wild supply is diminishing, prices continue to climb. There have been developed some techniques of controlled cultivation.
THE TRUFFLE JETSET
An Alba White Truffle is the second most expensive thing you can eat, after the gold leaf: the value can raise up to €500/hg depending on the quality of the supply. Because of its high price and the fame acquired with the yearly fair, the truffle becomes almost a brand itself, a sign of wealth and culinary sophistication.
DIGGING IN THE BLACK MARKET
For every expensive product there is always an underground market or dishonest people that attempt to get it avoiding the law. Often, their criminal actions relapse into ignorant consumers, which buy counterfeit products, and to the innocent truffle-dogs, poisoned by the rival hunters.
The video triptych illustrates the art of truffle hunting in three different countries: in Piedmont, northern Italy, where the truffles are considered a very refined product; in central Albania, in which the hunters sell most of the bounty to foreign traders, and in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, where desert truffles have become a common food in the local kitchen. By following the path of the hunters, the viewer apprehends the risks behind this “not so innocent” practice: what is then the real value of this product?
RESEARCH AND DESIGN
Jannetje in 't Veld and Toon Koehorst
DESIGN ACADEMY EINDHOVEN
MA Information Design - Trimester 1+3