HSS8121: Creative Entrepreneurship Project

‘What facial expression do you perceive?’ is the name of my proposal for this part of the assessment.It’s an interactive photo exhibition, which aims to show the diverse range of facial expression across different cultures. My initial inspiration comes from a study from 2012 that mystifies that wider belief that some emotions are universally recognised in facial expression. Facial expressions of emotion are not culturally universal[1].’ It’s the name of the study that suggests that ‘expressions of the major emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, etc. may be strongly culturally driven.’ There is another study from 2014 that also supports the previous one, which is called  ‘Perceptions of Emotion From Facial Expressions Are Not Culturally Universal: Evidence From a Remote Culture.’[2] The main finding of this last study indicates that perceptions of emotion are not universal, but depend on cultural and conceptual contexts.Thus my proposal is to make a visual representation of these findings. In order to approach this, firstly it will be necessary to do some ethnographic work to build the body of content of the exhibition

[1] Jack, RE, Garrod, OGB, Yu, H., Caldara, R., Schyns, PG “Facial expressions of emotion are not culturally universal.” PNAS : 1-4, 16 April 2012. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1200155109

[2] Gendron, M., Roberson, D., Jacoba, M., Feldman, L. “Perceptions of Emotion From Facial Expressions Are Not Culturally Universal: Evidence From a Remote Culture”. American Psychological Association: 2014, Vol. 14, No. 2, 251–262 1528-3542

The proposal is divided in two parts.


This first part will take place in the museum and it consists of a set of one or two screens, each of them will contain a photo of each volunteer.


They are touchscreen, as a question will show up so the audience can react to it touching one of the answers provided. That question is ‘what is he/she feeling?’ giving the major emotions as choices for the audience.


After that, the correct answer will come up with brief information explaining how people from that culture express that specific feeling/emotion (a knowledge that will be produced in the creation of the work).

Mock2 mockup3

So the idea is that the audience will notice a difference in how people from different cultures to the western ones perceive common emotions as sadness, happiness etc.,breaking that general belief facial expressions are universals.


The second part will take place in social media, but with the exhibition at the museum as a starting point. This means that I am also proposing a social media campaign on Instagram called #myfacialexpression. After seeing all the photos of the exhibition being displayed on screen, the audience will receive a audio-visual stimulus from the screen (different each time) that will provoke a feeling in the audience, such as sadness, fear, fun, etc. A picture from a webcam on the top of the screen will capture that emotion. The audience won’t know about the photo beforehand as the intention it’s to get a true and spontaneous expression, running away from poses. After the photo being taken, a question will come such as ‘would you like to see what’s the people’s perception of your facial expression?’ If the audience answers yes, that picture will go the Instagram account of the Museum with a titles that says ‘guess #myfacialexpression’ in different languages, so people around the world could write what’s the emotion they are perceiving.

instagram-mock-up instagram2-mock-up

As the National Media Museum doesn’t have an Instagram profile, I will take care of creating one as well as extending this campaign to other social media platforms such as twitter.