An Ontology Dinner

Tyler Brunner, Interdisciplinary Sculpture, 2020
Hanah Murphy, M.A. Social Design, 2020
Gizem Oktay, M.A. Illustration, 2020

Connected by a common curiosity for using food as an emotional language and a bridge between humans and environment, Tyler, Hanah, and Gizem draw from their diverse backgrounds as spatial explorers, social-environmental designers and visual philosophers to communicate their musings on the entanglement of time immemorial.

Project Overview

How might we reinterpret our relationship to food to reflect a new cultural reverence for the intersections between humans and non-humans? Imagining possibilities through the lens of time immemorial, or mythical realism, An Ontology Dinner is a cyclical-system offering to our ancestral and future environment, providing a contemplative mirror to view the ways in which we are entangled. By acknowledging these connections, we can use new food narratives to flatten hierarchical ontologies between humans and non-humans and in telling the story of our existence as sameness, we imagine a symbiotic future world.


An Ontology Dinner is comprised of several different pieces, beginning with the cyclical table setting. The table setting is a mixed media, multi-part vessel designed primarily using Rhino design software. Each designed component was then cast in a 3-D printed mould using semi-organic materials. The base of the vessel is both modeled after and assembled using organic materials sourced from the same ecosystem which inspired the setting. The accompanying menu-publication uses textures captured from the edible materials highlighted at the table and hand-drawings inspired by the table setting. It was collaboratively designed and printed using InDesign.


The Trio self-identify as the tangential skeptic, the swelling optimist, and the playful nihilist. Our backgrounds and experiences are each truly unique but we each humbly seek the connections between us.

Though each of us have approached this class and our project from unique angles, through a lot of shared conversation we discovered a common thread in a lot of our work which asks- how might we reinterpret our relationship to food to reflect a new cultural reverence for the intersections between humans and non-humans? 

The bulk of this project was aligning our individually-developed but shared philosophies, and supporting those values with research on how they manifest through food and food environments. The nitty-gritty of the creation, however, was reliant on translating conversations on how the cyclicality of life might be represented at a table into a physical design on rhino. Then we were able to support with our philosophical theory on food through a visual publication and dinner experience.

Learn More

Tyler Brunner
Creative Process Journal //
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Gizem Oktay
Creative Process Journal //
Website //
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Hanah Murphy
Creative Process Journal //
LinkedIn //
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