Annelie Berner

Sweet Data: Happiness Index, in cupcakes

The recently released Happiness Index is mapped into sugar amounts for cupcakes.

Data Representation

Taste the data!

The Cupcakes Index is a project that maps the country-by-country data of the Happy Index to amounts of sugar then added to the batter for country-by-country cupcakes.

After trying a cupcake, the participant maps the sweetness of the cupcake on a scale of Super Sweet to Not So Sweet. A live feed of this action is projected onto the formal graph of each country's place in the Happiness Index. Finally, there is brightness tracking that highlights the most recently added cupcake liners.
This Happy Index, published in April 2012 by the Earth Institute, was contained in the World Happiness Report, co-edited by Jeffrey Sachs, that was commissioned by the United Nations Conference on Happiness.

I considered the World Happiness Report, and specifically the Happiness Index that was just put out by Jeffrey Sachs, John Helliwell and Richard Layard at the Earth Institute.

I was interested in stimulating my audience to participate in the experience of making sense of data as well as incite curiosity about the methods of measuring happiness-- something that seems too subjective to measure and yet could be such an important way to develop policy.

User Scenario
The flow of the project is the following:

Choose two cupcakes (or more) from the index cabinet of cupcakes. They are not in order, though they are color-coded by continent.

Taste the amount of sweetness as it compares to the second cupcake. The bottom of the cupcake wrapper reveals which country you were "tasting."

Take the wrappers and pin them to a board according to your perception of their sweetness.

The image of this board, a collaborative data representation, is then projected onto a third board that shows the original graph of the Happiness Index data set.

I will provide cards to those who are interested in understanding more about my experiment as it related to the Happiness Index.

In this way, my participants will experience the dataset, the idea behind the dataset and its collection, as well as (hopefully) consider some of the driving questions that surround this area of work.