This case study is founded on some of the scenario building methods learned at the Institute of the Future. Et Sens explores and illustrates what our relationship with food might be like when food systems become scarce and we can no longer afford to buy and eat fresh produce.
Context 1: Raising Awareness
In 2011, artists Miriam Simun and Miriam Songster created a pop-up food truck that encouraged people to consume three food samples from the future. The catch, however, is that they had to wear a prosthetic over their face to simulate the smell of the food, indicating that what guests are eating is a memory of product that would no longer exist in the future... These artists inspired me to explore additional scenarios in which we might live without real food.
precedent example: ghost foods
This idea of teasing consumers by manipulating their olfactory sense inspired the next steps for thinking about how much people are willing to pay to actually eat real food. Rather than offering a teaser of food products, could the future of eating reintroduce pieces of what we used to have?
Context 2: Collapse of Food Systems
Ten years from now, our relationship with food will be lackluster due to the decline of food production and the demand for consumable meals of 7 billion people. Produce that was once available in grocery stores have now become scarce and unavailable for daily consumption.
A Future without Real Food
Instant Meal Replacement paves the way as the global diet. With bio-engineered products such as Nutri Ba, each person gains nutritional value at a low cost. With this worldwide shift in taste and harvesting, Nutri Ba solves the problem of feeding everyone, but raises a new desire: how much are you willing to pay for the real deal?
In 2015, Space 10 (IKEA's Future Living Lab) introduced a visual speculation of the future of the meatball. These material explorations of alternative ingredients reimagine the form and taste factors of our eating experience. As a precedent example, this inspired me to explore some of the technological innovations that might also transform the space and use of kitchens (see illustration below)
2030 at home. An individual makes their daily Nutri Ba meal.
Et Sens: the Revival of the Senses
In response to the neutralized meals made by Nutri Ba, a new culinary service allows consumers to smell lost flavors of the past.
Et Sens emerges as a sensory collection of ingestible ingredients that allows people to manipulate their Nutri Ba in order to make it palatable while also reintroduce the sensation of smelling, tasting and touching real food:
Delivering lost ingredients in order to revive a forgotten experience
Et Sens delivers three tiers of sensory experiences: 1) an olfactory kit to smell extracts from foods of the past; 2) a 3D printed cartridge to blend with your Nutri Ba meal printer; and finally, 3) a sample of the real food that has been farmed and engineered for our rekindled eating experience:
Imagine a home in 2030 with guests. The host has ordered an exclusive edition of lost produce from Et Sens and has decided to share this transformative eating experience with their closest friends. Each guest is given their own Nutri Ba which will then be manipulated by smell and taste through Et Sens.
Interactive Prototype: At Home Nutri Ba Printer with Et Sens olfactory kit
Et Sens Dinner with guests, 2030
This work, along with Dump Dining, Probes, and Tak Tak, was presented at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, on April 26, 2017. I met with Sara Smith from the food futures lab interested in collaborating with other designers about the future of food.
This project was recently presented at a Speculative Futures meetup in San Francisco.
Narrative Building App
Phonetic Alphabet Experiment
Ballot Initiative Interaction
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