The Wheel of Life

We mark the end of the LifeCycle Series with a culinary journey through birth, life, and death.

Summer Ferments Series photo by Paul Salveson, courtesy of Hank and Bean, LLC © 2019 Hank and Bean

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


November 21, 2019 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)


Invitation only. Email:

From birth to death: experience the “evening of a lifetime.” In a private closing event in this year’s LifeCycle Series, chefs and speakers will guide us along life phases through culinary experiences. Each course represents a stage in life and is accompanied by a keynote speaker, who invites us to speculate about how will we create, live, and die tomorrow. 

This event is invitation-only. If you would like to request an invitation, reach out to


6:00pm — doors open
6:30pm — introduction with Hank & Bean
6:45pm — introduction to VR-experience, Sound & Vision by Mélodie Mousset
7:00pm — dinner experience
7:15pm — keynotes on creation, life, death, and afterlife
8:00pm — tea ceremony
8:30pm — afterlife music & networking
10:00pm — doors close


Hank and Bean

Anna Rose Hopkins, Chef & Partner at Hank and Bean, brings a focus on narrative storytelling, nutrition and ethos to Hank and Bean. For more than a decade in New York and Los Angeles as a private chef, Hopkins has worked to develop a sensation of abundance and freedom with – attimes – rigorously limited ingredients. Immersive, site-specific dining experiences have been hosted and produced by Boston University (MA, US), RICE University (TX, US), the Barbara Seiler Gallery (Zurich, CH), PST LA (CA, US) and the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden (CA, US).

Henry Fischer, Chef & Partner at Hank and Bean, (Vendome, Noma, Animal Group) brings over 25 years of world-class experience plus years of research in Korea and Japan to the forefront of his exploration with fermentation, texture and flavor development. His Middle-Eastern-by way-of-Eastern-Europe roots further shape his work with duration-based process and old world technique. Fischer brings a professional rigor and attention to detail to Hank and Bean. They have been featured on Hulu, Tastemade TV, KCET, New York Times, LA Times and many more. 


Viirj Kan

Viirj KanViirj Kan is a designer and engineer that works at the intersection of materials, robotics, biotechnology, and chemistry. Currently, she is the CEO and co-founder of Primitives Biodesign, a biomaterials company that develops functionalized biopolymers to replace current petrochemical based plastics with the goal of reducing plastics pollution. In the past, she has worked on a range of pioneering interfaces including wearable displays, smart tattoos, programmable materials, shape displays, and 3D robotic interfaces at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Samsung Design Innovation Center, and MIT Media Lab. Her publications in the field of Human-Computer Interaction has received a Best Paper Award at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), a Golden Mouse Award at CHI, and Honorable Mention Awards at the International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC) and Fast Company Innovation by Design. A committed advocate in the DIY and open-source movement, she engages in efforts to increase access of scientific and technological tools to underrepresented social groups. Viirj holds a Master of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science from the Art Center College of Design.

Florian Kehl

Florian KehlFlorian Kehl is a Life Detection Instrumentation Technologist working with Dr. Peter A. Willis in JPL’s Chemical Analysis and Life Detection Group on the development of an instrument suite for in-situ liquid analysis of potential biosignatures on Mars, Europa, Enceladus and other alien worlds. He was a NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellow at JPL from 2016 to 2019 and received his BSc and MSc degree in nano sciences, major in physics, from the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Florian joined the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology CSEM Landquart, Switzerland, in 2007 to work on label-free optical biosensor systems. In 2009, he worked as a Visiting Researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, at the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Centre (BSAC) in the electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS) department. From 2011 to 2015, he was a Ph.D. Student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH in Zürich in the Laboratory of Biosensors and Bioelectronics (LBB) at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, in collaboration with CSEM and Optics Balzers AG.

Erika Marthins

Erika MarthinsErika Marthins is a Swiss-educated Interaction Designer from Sweden who is seeking to reconsider our relationship with new technology. She is particularly interested in creating bridges between distinct areas like for example food and cutting edge technology, memories and social networks. Erika earned a Bachelor of Visual Communication (Interaction Design Major) from Ecole Cantonal d’art de Lausanne (ECAL), in Switzerland with Honors. Her work speculates on the future and aims to expand the boundaries of possibilities by exploring new solutions for future problems. Erika has exhibited at museums, festivals, institutes across the world such as Google, Vitra Design Museum, Space10, Milan Design Week & Singularity University. Her great passion for design and innovation is what inspires her to think about our relationship with technology in the world of tomorrow.

Eryk Salvaggio 

Eryk Salvaggio is an artist, writer, and researcher at swissnex San Francisco, where he explores the potentials — and consequences — of emergent technologies for events and publications, including running a futures-focused workshop on the topic of digitization, data, and death called “Dying Tomorrow.” Once dubbed “the Harry Potter of the digital vanguard,” Salvaggio was an early pioneer of the movement, exhibiting internationally with his work covered in The New York Times and NBC News. His project, Fluxus Ex Machina, used artificial intelligence to produce 100 performance art pieces. He holds an MSc. in Media and Communication from the London School of Economics.



Josette Melchor

Josette MelchorJosette Melchor is the Founder of Gray Area, and the Head of Cultural Programming for the future cities initiative at WeWork. In 2008, she led the effort to incorporate Gray Area into a 501(c)3 nonprofit, enacting her pioneering vision of a living creative hub for the integrated practice of art and technology, a uniquely San Franciscan institution globally recognized for its forward-looking programming around creative coding education and cultural incubation. Melchor’s background as a queer, third-generation Mexican-American has grounded her deep commitment to safeguarding diverse communities in the midst of a rapidly gentrifying San Francisco. In collaboration with the City of San Francisco, she created the first Urban Prototyping Festival in 2012, creating a platform for citizens to address civic issues through public activations, which has since been copied worldwide. In 2016, Melchor instigated the first exhibition that paired artificial neural networks with artists, which helped establish the Artists and Machine Intelligence program at Google, ushering in a new movement in Artificial Intelligence assisted artwork. She most recently spearheaded the development of Gray Area’s Knight Foundation-supported Experiential Space Research Lab, developing sustainable models for artists to work within the quickly evolving format of immersive experiences.