Chromatic Dinner

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The Chromatic dinner is a multi sensory dinning experience inspired by the 5 Chinese elements designed by artist and director Martin Butler and chef Alexander Gershberg.


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In Roman times, the art of dining incorporated all the known senses to create a total
gastronomic experience. In accordance with the ancient experience of dining, the Futurist Movement at the beginning of the 20th century experimented with sensational gastronomy. The most made famous being the Futurist Dinners of Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. Almost 90 years later, Mediamatic in Amsterdam invited Artist and Director Martin Butler and vegan chef Alexander Gershberg to develop a concept for a NEO FUTURIST DINNER. An eating experience whose aim is to re-think the way in which the world of food, art, and science come together, resulting in an unexpected multi-sensory dinner.




Inspired by the ideas of Kandinskys’s principles of Klangfarben, and the influence of the Chinese five elements: Tree, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, each course is created in accordance to the colour and underlying principles of each element. Each course is designed in a different color, taste, smell, texture, and sound to create a five course chromatic dining experience.

The project’s research stems from studies in synesthesia, a perceptual condition in which the stimulation of one sense triggers an automatic, involuntary experience in another sense. The project asks the question if colour can create emotion, can that emotion and colour be enhanced by combining it with other senses. Part of the ongoing investigation is to see how a combination of these senses can create different emotional and social response from the guests through the course of the evening and heighten the gastronomic experience. Each course has its own soundtrack inspired by Newton’s circle of sound and colour (1704). Working together with perfume researcher Caro Verbeek, Butler and Gershberg create each dish based upon smells that are associated with that colour. The surroundings and clothing of the waiters also change per course. The chromatic dinner is a monochromatic, audio, visual, olfactory and culinary experience which plays with all the senses.



Martin Butler

Martin Butler is an interdisciplinary artist, and stage director. He was trained in Drama at Manchester University, and then later Choreography and Performance at the SNDO, in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. His work has always bridged and combined various disciplines, dance, theater, music, film, performance, new media, and fashion, and through this interdisciplinary approach his work explores the new dramatic that the combination of different genres facilitate. Since 1998 he has been creating performance work, at various theaters and festivals internationally.

His new media and installation work has been shown in the  Palais de Tokyo, Istanbul Modern, Beijing Design Week, European Media Arts Festival in Osnabrück, Fundación Telefonica in Lima, Photokino, Köln, Øsknehallen, Copenhagen, San Pau Modernista, Barcelona, Wiels Museum, Istanbul Design Biennale, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Amsterdam Museum, Pixxelpoint Festival in Slovenia, Olympus Photographry Playground, Berlin, shaded view on fashion film festival, Centre Pompidou Paris, Kasteel Keukenhof, the Netherlands, the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem, Marres, Maastricht, Salon Amsterdam, and Mediamatic, amongst many others.