The human desire to control and manipulate our feelings and their expression is matched only by our equally intense urge to share these emotions. Technological advances have made it more possible than ever to measure expressions of emotion. What used to be seen as magic has now been established as valid science, and human emotions can be turned into neurological data through measurements of physiological changes in the capillaries, pulse, body temperature, involuntary stress responses and other micro-facial expressions. Commissioned by IDFA DocLab, De Brakke Grond and firestarters by Vodafone, this interactive installation uses a range of technologies, including modified EEG headsets and biometric sensors, as well as carnivalesque props to set up a series of "emotional competitions." There are games such as "Rage Balloons," in which contestants compete to fill balloons with rage, bliss or any other feelings, and a "Love Competition," where they have 20 seconds to love someone (or something) as hard as they can. The games are playful variations on our never-ending quest to understand each other and ourselves, and a commentary on the fact that these days, even our most intimate emotions are mediated through data centers and touch screens. The project will be presented as an interactive installation from 21-24 November, as well as during DocLab Live: firestarters presents Emotional Arcade on 22 November.
Brent Hoff, Alexander Reben