Qian (Janice) Wang



2-22-13 Pop-up : Food & Emotion

For this Media Lab pop-up dinner, I wanted to play with the idea of experiencing different emotions while eating.


The pop-up dinner took place in a conference room on the 4th floor.


I constructed the menu with four courses. Each course had its own associated emotional state channeled through a specific musical playlist and lighting. The diners ate half of each course while music was playing, and the rest of the course was eaten without music.

First Course
Spicy popcorn

Emotion: Anger
Lighting: Medium
Music Example:

Second Course
Roasted eggplant with buttermilk sauce and pomegranate

Emotion: Fear
Lighting: Dim
Music Example:


Third Course
Herbed couscous salad with feta

Emotion: Happiness
Lighting: Bright
Music Example:

Fourth Course
Tapioca pudding with pistachio

Emotion: Melancholy
Lighting: Dim
Music Example:


I was interested in the memorability and the social impact of emotion on each dish. The happy course faciliated discussion while all the diners remained silent during the scary course. Overall, the most memorable course was the popcorn as people commented on the surprising spicy note of the popcorn. In addition, loud music had the effect of toning down intense flavors and distracting diners from evaluating the dish as a whole.