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Ideas: Food Symphony


Experiencing food, what it tastes, smells, looks like, can be an emotional thing. But have you ever thought what your food might sound like? Food Symphony is a project that aims to make new possibilities in understanding what is in your food, and how it has been processes, “by sonifying scientific data, Food Symphony reveals the internal life of food.” Conceptualised and created by RCA students Marika Grasso, Janice Li, and Rinata Brenha Ribeiro, the project responded to the BioDesign Challenge set by RCA. Instead of seeing food as something ‘dead’, they wanted to explore the living activities of food, and give access to the energy of food beyond the common use of sight, smell and taste.

Nutritional components and values could soon be decoded just by scanning the food itself. Food Symphony created a prototype scanner plate, and used cabbage in their case study to demonstrate the range of sensations in different processes, and this data can then be re-interpreted into an ambient, musical experience. The project worked with the SynbiCITE laboratory at Imperial College London, and sound designer and violinist, Erica Lee. Erica composed five separate pieces inspired by the spectral data from each processed cabbage sample. All of this was showcased in an installation at White City where visitors could try cabbage samples whilst listening to the piece.  In an age where we’re constantly questioning what and how we eat, Food Symphony is a window into how we might engage with food in the future. 

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