Aesthetics of Prosthetics
Pratt Institute, School of Architecture, September 19 - October 17, 2019
Humans have always been fascinated by the transmutation of things. From water that turns into blood to alchemy mythologies to fluid spaces, change is both what drives and solidifies cultural evolution - whether subtly or abruptly. The culture of food, a space that is highly defined by practices of transmutation, has been one of the most prominent yet silent agent of change when it comes to architecture and the built environment. A small advance in the food hardware -ex. the welcoming of the microwave in the ‘80s- slowly “devours” an entire space, minimizing the need of cooking utensils and space for meal prep - in some cases even rendering the gathering dining table obsolete. After all, how could a San Francisco landlord push her tiny 150 sqf studio into the market if it wasn’t for the microwave?
Today we are on the verge of dealing with another radical “agent of change” in the food culture; food 3D printers have already hit the market, mainly used for elaborate dish structuring by professional Chefs. Companies have been working on this technology with the aim of advancing them to become ordinary kitchen appliances within the upcoming years. The kitchen, ever shrinking down, is gradually being transformed into a new age Fabrication Lab of Tastes- a change strongly charged with notions of efficiency, time management, economy of materials and -most importantly- the idea that the kitchen should be perceived as a space of ergonomic design. Forget about “letting the stew sit for 2h, stirring it from time to time” - it’s all about efficiency, efficiency, efficiency! Load the recipe, place the meat cartridge in the slot until it “clicks” and then press the big button. Voila!”.
With the welcoming of this small 3D printing box, possibly accompanied by a VR taste enhancing narrative, taste enhancing pills or by a camera that will be broadcasting your dinner, how will our future food culture radically alter the architecture of the residence? When you will be coming back from work, exhausted by the multiple vr teleconferences you had at work and you will be almost cooking, almost sharing, almost smelling, almost tasting
- what will your Almost Kitchen look like?