Cultural Inventory


(A Portrait)

Attempted to uncover and capture, through photographs and conversations, a personal environment including a range of artefacts found in a home and their relationship with the owner.

Based on the book "Material World" by Peter Menzel.

Yi-Chun Lin


29 years



Graduate student at UT Austin


Valued possessions

Tea stash, electronic gadgets


Wishes for future

Work as a UX Designer for the next 3 year in US and then return to Taiwan

Quintessentially Asian

She lives in a 2x2 apartment close to the university campus with another Taiwanese girl. One can feel the prominent Taiwanese culture in this regular American apartment, especially in the kitchen.

The traditional Taiwanese cooker and spices make up for her choices as she learned cooking from her mother and grandmother who are used to only these. Switching to more popular American apparatus means relearning all of it.

Yi-Chun’s diet includes a variety of instant noodles- Chinese, Japanese, Korean. This serves well for her lack of interest in cooking and her busy lifestyle. She usually keeps a huge stock of these packets and repletes the stock before it completely finishes.



Although her eating habits consist mainly of oriental cuisines, Yi-Chun enjoys trying new things. She is trying to learn cooking more American dishes and for this she relies on popular meal-kit services.   



Yi-Chun loves drinking tea several times a day. She has a big stash of different kinds of tea in different forms from different places. When asked what are a few things which she values the most, she jumped in excitement and started brewing her favorite tea for me.

Thrive and Exist


Yi-Chun is a huge Captain America fan and she loves collecting figurines. She owns many Captain America themed items including sheets, cushions, caps and even tissues. In the same shelf, she keeps objects of necessities like skincare, makeup and books.

She likes to own Chinese versions of many books and is a proud owner of a special Chinese edition of The Design of Everyday things.

Character of Order

Yi-Chun spends most of her time at home on her computer desk which is also the station to place everything she brings into the room. She also places her medicines and supplements on the desk where they are easily visible. She likes collecting quirky things such as an analogue thermostat which she finds very aesthetically pleasing. Anything which doesn’t have a specified place goes in the drawer. 

She has a very organized closet. She owns two laundry bags- each for clean and unclean clothes. The left side of the closet hangs the fresh clothes and right side hangs the clothes worn once or twice. She uses organizers inside of organizers to fit things in a system.

She stores the cardboard boxes on the top shelves so she can use them again when she moves out of this apartment.


(The End)

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