Who’s Eating the Chinese Mitten Crab, 2018


The Who's Eating the Chinese Mitten Crab project by the Brussels architecture and design collective Rotor is a diptych. At the Bruges Triennial, Rotor presented their research into the Chinese mitten crab (What’s Eating the Chinese Mitten Crab), while in their pop-up restaurant on the beach in Zeebrugge, you can taste dishes each month based on invasive exotic species, including the Chinese mitten crab.

An invasive exotic species is a non-native animal or plant species that, mostly as a result of human actions, end up in a place where they do not belong. The species then flourishes and harms domestic species. Larvae of the Chinese mitten crab came from China to Hamburg in the early twentieth century in the ballast water of freight ships. Today, this freshwater crab has spread via many German, Dutch, British and Belgian waterways. The crab can even be found in the canals in Bruges. Because it can pose a threat to local biodiversity, the Flemish government is fighting against the Chinese mitten crab. The combat is aimed mainly to limit the harm they cause. Specialists have given up hope that the species could be eradicated here. Rotor developed a project that does not demonize the crab as an undesirable invader, but researchers how we can accept the exotic species and find a place for it in our society. The possibility of including the crab, which is a delicacy in China, in our food chain is thus being given serious thought, but is also seen from a critical angle.

Monthly tasting sessions with new dishes based on Chinese mitten crabs and other invasive alien species, in collaboration with various professional chefs; permanently accessible multimedia space.

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established in 2005 in Brussels, BelgiumRotor
Rotor is an architecture and design collective established in Brussels in 2005. Rotor recently participated in the group exhibitions Manufactuur 3.0, Z33, Hasselt (2016), Constellation.s, Arc en Rêve, CAPC Bordeaux, France (2016), Ex Limbo, Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2011) and OMA/Progress, Barbican Art Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2011). Rotor curated the Oslo Architecture Triennale Behind the Green Door, Norway in 2013 and represented Belgium at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2010.


URB SEA, Beach zone at Zeedijk 25, Zeebrugge
Open: Daily from 12.00 to 18.00 on the location of the URB SEA. During good weather, it is open later.

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