“Do Happy Meals make Americans happy? Do the British find comfort in cake? Are citizens of wealthy countries enjoying food more than those from poorer nations? Does national history manifest itself in present-day food consumption? And what is bun cha anyway?” This is what Natalie Dixon asked us all on twitter. As a means of gaining insights into these issues, Dixon used Twitter as her primary data resource, translating people’s tweets about food and how they feel about them using an analysis tool, then combining the info with public access data to create data visualisations.

With this in mind, Jade De Waal from Eat Your Heart Out has gathered twelve amazing minds to showcase individual Inspiration Tables at the Toffie Pop Culture Festival. Following Natalie Dixon’s documentation of global food consumption patterns and its impact on the daily emotional well-being of people with her project FoodMood, each of these tables will be a nod to Dixon’s concept. Each artist will receive one wooden trestle table on which to build, compile and explore his installation at the festival. We caught up with exhibition curator Jade and two other exhibitors (and DECO favourites): Michelle Son and Sara Trickett.

Jade (above): For my own Inspiration Table titled ‘Stiek Yt’ I will be making ‘tongue tasters’ – a simple taste test to see if guests can tell if they have ‘super tongues’. Decorative paper tongues will be flavoured and painted with various flavours to be tasted by the viewer.

Michelle (above): I will be exploring the psychology behind the types of music played in fast food chains – what the impact of fast-paced music has on buying decisions and the types of fast foods we eat. From a personal perspective, I always feel guilty eating these types of foods, so I always dash in and out as quickly as possible as if it never happened! I will make recordings of the different types of music tracks at various fast food chains and will distort these sounds. (Above/below: Michelle’s Scratch Table at Toffie Pop Culture Festival 2011)

Sara (above): My installation is called ‘Give and Take’. We have divided our table into 24 compartments, each will contain a cool little treasure – old school bottles of sweets, cookie cutters, neon plastic dinosaurs, boxes of tiny cake decorations and much much more. People will be encouraged to take any one of these little trinkets from our table but they must replace it with something equally cool. So make sure to bring along something for our little swop and meet.

Make sure to visit the Toffie Pop Culture Festival at the Cape Town City Hall this coming weekend to see all the Inspiration Tables on display. Visit pop.toffie.co.za for more information.