Project Mnemosyne

Project Mnemosyne

Sharon Chen, Hancy Han, Shawn Zhang

<Mnemosyne: the god of memory in the ancient greek myth>

Question: In this increasingly converging social environment, how do we rebuild the memory of a certain period in a certain place through recreating the shape of food and the experience of dining?


In this fast-paced society, people adjust their schedules to catch up with the pace of everyday life. Whether it is the rapid development of the meal replacement industry or the popularity of food delivery service, as well as the innovation of technology in the culinary industry. As a result,  it has led to the migration of the original culture of food. Instead of spending time in the kitchen, the market for fast food, meal replacement, and prepared food was expanding. The focus of food preparation has shifted from delicate to efficient. Under the globalization process, international immigration has brought the fusion style to the global food market. This is to say, with the evolution of human society, the tradition of food cooking and preparation will also change. In this project, based on the current information, we predict the eating habit and food style in the future. We chose one of the conditions listed below as our predicted future background.

In this project, we are trying to retrospect human memories through foods, because food not only provides nutrition to the human body but also carries culture, history, and memory. Food carries the flavor of the hometown, it is the representation of a mother’s hand, a reminder of a time clock in our daily lives, and a precious time we can share with our close friends and family. 


In 3121(the global era),  Global integration has taken place, and there are no longer any geographical differences. Global consistency is highly saturated. The future archaeological team discovered a couple of sets of data about the ancient food collected by FHM(Feed Her Memory) Company in 2019. They wanted to understand human beings’ life around the 2010s. Through the study of food, Project Mnemosyne carried out the interpretation and restoration of the culture and story of the previous period in history.

Performance as the final presentation

In the scenario, we are turning the classroom into a projection room to create an immersive space for better understanding. Three projectors were used, a script was produced. One of our team members was acting as the host of the show, while the other one is the expert from an archaeological team of Food Historical Museum, who is responsible for explaining the main purpose of Project Mnemosyne. Based on the description of a group of interviewed students, such as “the shape of blue and orange”. This activity recreates cubes that mimic the appearance of ancient food from food data collection. The data was collected based on the questionnaires sent to this group of students on convenient sampling strategies, and participants described their memories on New Year dinners. This process helps to visualize the “memories” and allows the audience to receive information within a limited amount of time. 


Host: Hancy Han (Xinyi) TV Show Food by Design Host  

Host Character: A typical 3120s future human being, doesn’t know anything about history. She doesn’t believe the food culture.

Guest: Sharon Chen (Jia) One of Food Historical Museum Curators 

Guest Character: Obsessed the food culture, as a 3120s human being, appreciate the ancient(the 2010s) food and food culture

Stage Control: Shawn Zhang (Xuanao) 

TV Show Performance: 

Hancy Han:Welcome to our Food by design show night! Tonight, This is our 13th episode. 

Shawn plays the first Image as Stage background 

Hancy Han: Tonight’s topic is “what ancient Asian people eat?”.

Shawn plays the second image as the background.

Hancy Han: Welcome our special guest Sharon Chen, branch of History and Nature Museum, one of Food Historical Museum curators. She is bringing us their newest research and found out about ancient people’s food. (Hancy plays soundtrack)

Sharon Chen: Hi, I am Sharon. (When Sharon heard the soundtrack) Have we traveled through time and space? 🙂 (Poker Face)

Hancy Han: The museum is giving a new exhibition Mnemosyne about historical food and memories around it. 

Shawn plays the Exhibition post as background.

Sharon: Yeah, we found some booklet archives from an ancient food company called FHM(Feed Her Memory). FYI, FHM is not the initial Food history Museum. This is not our predecessor.

Hancy and Shawn both play the Booklet Digital Archives.

Sharon: Because of the booklet is too damaged to read, we also found the digital archives of them. We did a data analysis of each information.  Furthermore, we recover the food that ancient people eat by the data from FHM.

Shawn Plays images of the booklet.

Hancy: I also notice that you bring some samples of the recovered food to our show today.

Sharon: Here are you go. We have more of them in our museum exhibition.

Hancy plays the image

Hancy: Do you want to introduce your report of the ancient food to us?

Sharon: instead I am going to choose which one to start with. How about to give this chance to our lucky audience? 

Host: sounds great. 

Shawn Plays the Image

While Sherry Shao is choosing the sample, Shawn plays the image:

Let Sherry Sharon choose the red one.

Hancy play the image of the content of the booklet

Hancy reads and introduces the booklet: 

After studying abroad[1] in the US, I barely have a chance to have the new year’s eve family dinner with my family. US college Winter break always ends up earlier than the Chinese Spring Festival starts.[2]  The last time till now I reunited with my family was my 20 years old new year, in 2014[3]. It was a very happy and lovely memory[4] in my mind. We had lots of different dishes in Cantonese style[5]. In that winter, the delicious smell of Poon Choi[6] drove the winter coldness away. It’s like a cozy orange-red plush vest that covers me in my memory.

Shawn Plays the video of moving and growing red string.

Hancy asks the first question: I don’t understand it. Why they have the idea of  “county”? why do they need to study abroad?


Let’s first talk about “studying abroad”: In the early stage of globalization, there were differences between ancient countries, and education resources in the world were different and uneven. Ancient Asian countries people had strong pursuits and aspirations for ancient Western culture and education.

Shawn plays two images on the side:

Hancy asks: What is Cantonese style? “Poon Choi” sounds weird, I even don’t know how to pronounce it correctly.

Sharon: as our research on it. “Poon Choi” is an extinct food, some people say that it is an expensive and time-consuming and unattractive family gathering dish. However, I don’t believe it, though recent research, we found out that this is a dish full of love.

Hancy reaction: I can’t believe it. Ancient people have lots of diverse food. 

Sharon: In this case study, we also notice that there was a cuisine called Cantonese cuisine: There are eight cuisines in ancient China. Cantonese cuisine appears here. However, there are no eight major cuisines now, and even no Chinese food. Only new Chinese fusion. China is no longer a country but a region.

Hancy: I know a bit. Why can’t she celebrate the Spring Festival in the United States? Is it because there is no time? Or is it because there is not the same food? Or is it because there is no family to accompany her for the holiday? In the United States, how does she spend the Chinese New Year every year when the date is not open? We don’t know.

Sharon: As we know that American holidays are different from Chinese holidays: Holidays around the world are reserved for important holidays in different countries (by the continent’s culture: for example, the Chinese New Year in Asia). For example, Thanksgiving and the double eleven of ancient China merged into a new holiday: the day of purchase. No more Thanksgiving. However, it will last from the ancient Western Christmas to the Asian Lantern Festival (calculated on the first full moon day in January of the Gregorian calendar).

To eat with family is more than just eating the food, it’s all about the experience the moment and love.

Shawn shows photos of Chinese have the spring festival food together:

Hancy: The show is near the end. I think we learned a lot today. Food for ancient people is not just-food.

Sharon: I really wish that I can have real-time travel back to ancient times.

Sharon sends out the poster of the museum exhibition, and ask the audience to come to visit the exhibition.

Hancy: Advertisement time!

Sharon: It’s not just an advertisement, it is all about the culture we lost!


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