The Last Meal

The Last Meal was an edible experience which explored concerns facing the food industry in the near future and specific to Singapore. Rather than to capture nostalgia in a perfectly rendered dish, the idea was to invoke the sense of the uncanny through subtle means. A twist of presentation, an unfamiliar texture, a physical constraint.

In the near future, the food that is available for our consumption has changed, but a longing for the taste of "home" always remains. What is this instinct towards nostalgia, or a desire to return to the past, which transforms itself into an anxiety of progress?

SAD: The Last Meal addresses Singapore's obsession with nostalgia, by looking at the alleged death of the Singaporean hawker, the corresponding fetishisation and commercialisation of local food iconography, and somewhere in between, the anxiety around losing a facet of heritage that this country holds so dear—our local food culture. If home were to cease, what would you like as your last meal?

The programme takes the form of an interactive art experience with a four-course food tasting menu designed specially by Chef Ming Tan, in collaboration with visual artist and technologist Debbie Ding.

We imagined someone eating these foods in a near-future post-apocalyptic bunker, the person in the bunker was very specifically us. A Singaporean, here in the present. It wasn't a baby from the future who hadn't had the chance to gain the lived experience of enjoying hawker food in the form that we eat right now. It wasn't someone from a foreign country being introduced to Singaporean hawker cuisine for the first time. It wasn't about exoticising or fetishising our nostalgia for hawker cuisine and 'heritage foods'. It was instead about transporting a Singaporean living in the present into a distant, uncertain food future where perhaps food security was an issue; where automation and efficiency was top priority to the extent of influencing hawker practices, where alternative proteins had become widely accepted in an era of land scarcity; where steady state foods would be commonplace backups; where a rapidly aging population would seek out enzyme softened versions of favourite foods to recapture the tastes of olde...

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Modeled from scratch in Blender.