Team: Zina, Golpar, and Ping
What is eating? By definition, it means to put food into the mouth and chew and swallow it. What will the future look like if we can no longer touch the food?
First, we were speculating on “What if efficient food innovations meant the experience of physically eating is nothing but a memory?” and “What if we forgot how to chew and bite into things?” In those two scenarios, our group decided to develop a chewable object and a historic chewing video to address those issues.
In a world where the rise of an “efficiency economy” has resulted in the demand for high nutrient supplements, take Soylent for example. Anything that is related to food— texture, unique flavors, and resistance, are lost due to the depletion of the practice of eating. Eating is nothing but a memory in this fictional world.
In a world that chewing has been forgotten, a group of scientists want to bring it back to save the human from the next disaster in evolution. They found a medical report showing the evaluation has already started and now they want to take action by bringing awareness to people about the importance of this issue.
We started our research by learning about the human’s skull evolution. The first humans used to have big strong jaws because of their diet. They consumed fresh meat or vegetables, however, they did not have a fire or developed tools to make the food easier to chew. So the only tool that they could really rely on was their jaw. As humans invented more tools and learned to use fire to cook, over millions of years, their jaw becomes smaller since they did not need to use a lot of power to chew anymore.
We interviewed doctors and dentists and asked them what would happen if humans stop chewing? What would our next evolution look like? Based on their responses and our own research, we realized that our jaw would continue shrinking. This shrinking has a lot of consciences. The muscles around the jaw get weaker and will deform our face structure. Our nasal breathing tubes will stay thin and that it will affect our breath. Our teeth structure might change to smaller weaker teeth.
Scientists and researchers have also stated that our ability to make certain sound will be compromised. It will affect the pronunciation of some alphabet and vowels. With jaw consuming less energy, there will be more nutrition recourses for our brain and our brain might start to grow!
This is the next evolution in our world:
Blasi, D. E., et al. “Human Sound Systems are Shaped by Post-Neolithic Changes in Bite Configuration.”Science, vol. 363, no. 6432, 2019, pp. eaav3218, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6432/eaav3218.abstract, doi:10.1126/science.aav3218.
Global Human Mandibular Variation Reflects Differences in Agricultural and Hunter Gatherer Subsistence Strategies. , doi:10.1073/pnas.1113050108.
In the end, we decided to go with a museum exhibition approach, the exhibition “Eating Away At Our Anatomy” consists of a series of mixed media works that look at the relationship between our jaw structure and current food consumption and the impact they have on each other.
- Exhibit A
A dental report illustrates a patient with a deformed jaw bone, resulting in abnormalities in the teeth structure.
- Exhibit B
A Look Back, A Look Forward is an infographic that visualizes the evolution of our diets and skulls as well as speculates on our jaw structure in the future based on these findings and scientific studies.
- Exhibit C
Followed by Exhibit A, My Mouth Is A Performer is an audiovisual installation that was created in remembrance of chewing. We look at the act of chewing in relation to different textures and pronunciation that may be compromised due to the future development of our jaw structure.
- Exhibit D
The Chew Toys are presented as a solution to protect the future deformation of our jaw. The texture and shape are designed to be chewed and to stimulate the bones and the muscles of our mouth.