Scope
Artistic Research, Storyboard, 3D Modeling, VR development
Tools
Blender, Photoshop, Unity, Oculus Rift
Time
February - May, 2020
Tofu is a VR interactive installation that presents the consumption experience of convenience store food and street food in the city in a surreal way.
Problem Space
What can we learn from the raising of convenience stores? How can we tell these stories of changing eating styles and the disappearance of local marketplace culture?
Taking the global convenience store brand 7-11 as an example, as of June 2019, it owns 68,236 stores in 11 countries. In my hometown, Shenzhen, a typical Chinese first-tier city, earlier in 2017, the density of convenience stores had reached 17.67 per square kilometer. In these convenience stores, fresh food accounts for 50% of total gross profit. Why more and more people eat fresh food from convenience store? What's the stories behind?
Research
The secrets of this successful expansion of the international market are explained in the 7-11 board member’s book The Essence of Retailing: Providing Life Solutions for Customers as building the brand’s own food processing plants and offering consumers continuously changing stimulus.

But where do people buy fresh food before convenience stores come up? In today's rapid urbanization, unified brands reconstruct our local life with their convenience and brand images. The market is promoting the disappearance of our neighborhood culture.
As a result, city residents are enjoying the consumption of grand stories and values, but have little interest in getting to know the history of the street we live in, which is actually harmful to the diversity of our cities.
Approach
I choose Tofu as the small aspect to dive into this topic. Tofu, the affordable ingredient with hundreds of shapes and cooking methods, is a common ingredient in China from ancient times and shows the evolvements in our eating habits. Players can grab and eat different forms of tofu to unlock the voice narratives in three chapters: convenience store, street food and rural village.
Players can grab and eat different forms of tofu to unlock the voice narratives about the changes in our eating habits in three chapters: convenience store, street food and rural village.
I design the food and character assets in Blender and bring them into Unity to finish the VR interaction building with Unity VRTK.

The first chapter provides a scene of how young workers buy food in a convenience store. Players will find themselves getting off work in a city, entering a convenience store, and choosing different tofu products with appearing packages and marketing strategies.
The second chapter is about the decreasing local food marketplace. The convenience store suddenly collapsed into soybeans, exposing players to a street food carnival where chili, fried tofu, and other street food are wildly floating in the city.
The third chapter shows how tofu is made in rural villages. The player will see villagers making the simplest tofu.
Here's the link of the trailer as well as ITP Thesis Week live presentation about this project.

Visit this link if you can't access to the video below:
https://www.manamana.net/video/detail?id=131391#!zh