Will Doenlen

Random Diet Club

The Random Diet Club is a diet where once a week an algorithm eliminates a random food from your diet. Lovingly known as the “the bot,” the algorithm chooses from a list of 1,000 different ingredients at different levels of abstraction. “Rose hip water” is as equally likely to be eliminated as “meat.” The eliminations are cumulative and the diet continues until you can no longer eat. I lived this way for 3 months along with a community of 50 other dieters and eliminated roasted vegetables, coffee, chicken and other staples from my diet before eventually reaching nutritional satori.

The Random Diet Club explored the fragile nature of identity in the face of inhuman algorithms. Diet is a strong marker of social identity and frequently distinguishes in-group from out-group. We are what we eat, both physically and spiritually. Surrendering control of your diet to a randomized algorithm scrambles your sense of identity and reshapes who you are in almost every context.

Artifacts from this project include a website, a weekly newsletter and a Facebook group.

Credits: Created in collaboration with Max Hawkins.

Emails from weekly newsletter

Facebook group participation