UOGASHI investigates the impact of overconsumption of seafood on marine pollution in the context of Tokyo. By unpacking the chain reaction rooted in overconsumption of seafood, to overfishing and waste production, this project asks consumers to alter their eating habits to reduce their consumption footprint. The journey from the gallery space to the retreat exposes consumers to the consequences of overconsumption and introduces them to new seafood alternatives - seaweed and bivalves. Centered around the philosophy of wabi-sabi, I combined Japanese culture and customs into the spatial experience to create a serene environment for consumers to reflect on their overconsumption behaviour.

The seating area

The gallery encapsulates memory and absence, the building that houses the gallery space imitates the silhouette of Tsukiji Fish Market to commemorate its history and the fish species lost due to its operation. The cutouts on the walls and roof resemble a fishing net wrapping around the building to imitate the sense of being trapped when fish are being caught out of their habitat.

The mezzanine

As a memorial for Tsukiji Fish Market, the stalls on the mezzanine at the centre of the gallery space imitates the stalls in the market, bringing visitors back to the chaotic atmosphere that once existed. The journey on the mezzanine helps to establish an emotional connection between consumers and the food they consume. Visitors will experience the emotions fish go through in four phases - from being free in their habitats, to getting caught, kept in cold storage, then getting consumed. ​​These four phases are represented by different materiality of the stalls, along with audio of heartbeat at different rates in the stalls.

The fish origami

Visitors will make fish origami in the fourth phase on the mezzanine - the consumed phase to represent the consumption of seafood. These origami will then get hung as part of the installation that they can contribute to. In Japanese tradition, folding and hanging one thousand paper cranes is a symbol of longevity. This utilises the same concept but in the form of paper fish to represent the longevity of endangered and vulnerable fish species. The installation gets denser with more paper fish representing the amalgamation of collective decisions into a bigger impact.

The tuna auction

Tsukiji Market was famous for its tuna auction. These tuna sculptures emulate the tuna auction and represent the depleted tuna species affected by overconsumption. They are made out of fishing nets encapsulated in clear tuna shaped cases to comment on the waste discarded from the aquaculture sectors and critique consumers’ overconsumption behaviour.

The garden to retreat

The retreat represents the insertion of new ideas - new seafood alternatives for consumers to adapt to. The garden adjacent to the gallery space is a combination of Japanese garden and kelp forest. It is a threshold between the gallery space and the retreat, which helps visitors to leave their old eating habits behind before entering the retreat to prepare them to learn new eating habits.

The multipurpose workshop

The multipurpose workshop introduces consumers to alternate sources of seafood - bivalves and seaweed to reduce their fish consumption. Visitors will learn hands-on cooking tutorials on making dishes out of these ingredients, accompanied by other ritualistic Japanese artistic expressions such as tea ceremony and incense appreciation to further enhance the meditative experience. These slow-paced workshops align with the wabi-sabi way of living to help consumers to learn new eating habits by pushing their senses and perception during the ritualistic processes.
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