STATE of Emotion
Emotions are a fundamental source of our most personal experiences in the world and motivations to act, as well as a central element of interaction with others. They have been considered the essence of what it means to be human, and what it means to be you.
Throughout most of the history of science, emotions have eluded empirical study as too intangible and too subjective — but during the last decades, groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in areas such as experimental psychology, neuroscience, and molecular biology have created a new momentum for research and experimentation related to the study and engagement with emotions, leading to the development of technologies and applications able to measure, interpret and simulate emotions in various ways and for a vast range of purposes:
Based on many years of experimentation and research in the field of affective neuroscience — studying the neural mechanisms of emotions — methods for biometric measurement of emotions have become astonishingly precise and nuanced, resulting in first applications able to not only tap into but also manipulate human emotions. Initially developed to cure psychological conditions such as autism or depression, the increasing amount of understanding and possibilities regarding targeted control and regulation of emotional states has quickly led to endeavors to optimize cognitive and emotional stability, performance and abilities through both pharmaceutical but also technical means, such as Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) oder Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). On the other hand, the field of “affective computing” — based on the fundamental research and work done by MIT media lab faculty’s scientist Rosalind Picard — has introduced methods and technologies for “affective surveillance” where through the study of of faces as an interface of affect, various facial recognition software applications have been developed to detect and read emotions in the human counterpart. Getting access to our minds and innermost feelings through the gateway of our facial expressions, the research on Artificial Intelligence has been able to advance its research and attempts to create empathic — or rather, empathically acting — computer systems, turning formerly soulless machines into what to us seem caring and sensitive companions.
By way of such biometric measurements and interpretation, computer systems are becoming increasingly capable of reading and also anticipating how and why we act like we do, thereby opening up possibilities of influence and interference with people’s decision making processes. The quality and type of data that can be collected and gathered through such applications and softwares has quickly created a whole new market for apps, devices and applications that turn the newly accessible knowledge into streams of money.
This new understanding of how and why we feel like we do, how this knowledge can be used and applied back onto us is progressively entering into our private surroundings and affecting our behavior, decision making and life on various levels. What are the cultural, social and political implications of these developments? In the age of “big data”, can gathering affective data on large populations actually be used to improve the quality of life, or does it only become another tool for discrimination, surveillance and social isolation? What are and can be scenarios in which these new possibilities will be used and implemented for the good of people? Will perhaps the targeted manipulation and leveling of emotional states even be necessary to guarantee the continued existence of a human species, in a future marked by overpopulation and environmental disasters? And how can we prepare ourselves for the encounter with a new generation of robots, challenging us in different ways to deal with seemingly emotional companions that behave uncannily close to humans and seem to understand us better than we do ourselves?
Conceptual artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats takes research on the enteric system as a starting point for considering alternate modes of comprehension that don't directly engage our gray matter.
Are emotions universal to all humans or are they dependent on the cultural environment of individuals?
From animal models to magnetic resonance imaging, this panel gives an idea of how scientists attempt to understand the nature of affection.
Current technologies can track our position on the planet to the mood of our co-workers in the office. Trendy "Apps" come in the shape of friendly interfaces installed in portable devices posing no harm at first sight. But what happens when such technologies are used for marketing and commercial purposes?
In contrast to sympathy, empathy allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of another. Can we actually train the brain to be more social?
Lymph, a work created specifically in response to the theme of the STATE Festival 2016, addresses the nature-culture dichotomy within the broader context and field of affective sciences.
Molding the signifier is a time-based, hybrid, bio-cybernetic installation deploying an external biological agent to infiltrate and disrupt the body-mind ecosystems of virtual humans, resulting in states that we regular humans could perceive as mental illness.
In a mashup of dialogue from the two movies, a new context for the electronic protagonists' words is created.
This installation creates awareness of even the most subtle movements of the face, and a space for interaction purely based on facial expressions.
Emotion Hero is an Android game that encourages one to investigate how face and feelings are represented by the software.
An artwork in two parts, looking at computational emotion classification and categorisation.
pplkpr is an art project created by Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald to explore the implications of quantified relationships for living.
In the installation’s display of images, documentation and the background materials of the artist’s research, scientific language blends with fictional imaginations.
Topography of Tears is a study and series of more than one hundred human tears photographed through an optical microscope, comprising a wide range of the artist’s own and others’ tears, causes and emotional states: from elation to onion, sorrow, frustration to rejection, resolution to laughter.
Filmmakers have always been fascinated with the potential of dystopian scenarios where machines and humans endlessly collide in violent confrontations under a dark and gloomy sky.
Technology has grown into a channel for the expression of our emotions, particularly so in term of love and our need to be connected through different online communities.
His unique designs and painfully personal experiences mark a journey that gets him closer to himself than he ever intended.
(un)ease your feelings raises the question: how do we relate to our emotions and feelings when they get the better of us?
In the film's Berlin Premiere, Herzog leads viewers on a journey through a series of provocative conversations that reveal the ways in which the online world has transformed how virtually everything in the real world works - from business to education, space travel to healthcare, and the very heart of how we conduct our personal relationships.
The project and installation, specifically developed for STATE Festival 2016, will engage the emotional cognition of visitors' stomachs and intestines in solving one of the world's most pervasive and intractable problems: anthropogenic climate change.
MIM is a choreographic project exploring the “affective touch hypothesis”, using inter-personal touch as form of expression.
Reading: "Wie wir lieben – vom Ende der Monogamie". We experience love that does not correspond to any theories. Karig tells the reader about men who are urgently longing for relationships and families, in contrary to all prejudices. About women who demand the maximum of liberty, without any ideological superstructure. About love that breathes freely. And about love that dies from all this self-discovery.
Poppy N+Z is a performance for a dancer, a Poppy robot, a philosopher and a musician who live together, observe each other and interact on stage.
The Talk Show closes our festival weekend by triggering conversations on the ultimate emotional puzzle: our common ecological future.
This Foresight Workshop by FUTURIUM provides a hands-on introduction to the methodology of future research for scientists and other creators who are interested in "tomorrow“.
Dient’s rapid idea generation model sets up a challenge, which aims at exploring, exploding and reimagining the how and what of the future of care.
Would you be able to sniff out your future partner in the STATE crowd?
This critical thinking workshop begins with the question "Would you live with an autonomous prosthesis?"
The workshop provide festival goers with the possibility of experiencing an embodied VR set up that will allow them to put themselves in someone else's shoes.
AXNS Collective is a not-for-profit, curatorial collective that explores intersections between art, neuroscience and technology (axnscollective.org).
What would you like them to do if your jewellery, your furniture and your curtains could do something when we feel bad?
In this talk, I will contend with the cultural anxieties and expectations that surround the feminine posthuman, and suggest important links between contemporary robotics and AI, gender, and the cultural history of the doll.
A creative perspective on neuroscience and emotions will also be open for the public to interpret.
Discuss the science incorporated into innovative apps such as Clue, ARYA, and Participatient
Musa Okwonga reciting some of his works, including a selection of texts, which have been nominated by STATE participants as their most inspirational pieces on the complex nature of emotion.
Lovelace’s contribution paved they way for computers to be viewed as more than just calculators, in that they could also for example compose music.
Das Fremde will take the form of an interactive installation mid November 2016.
MoodLab explores how self-tailored fashion and emotion tracking can help in mood management
My research focuses on how design can exploit the sensual properties of such dynamic agents, for nonverbal communication of emotion.
Anticipation is a dynamic, transitional state of emotion that manifests when we expect a certain outcome to happen.
Examining how emotions can be deciphered by machines and how machines learn to be empathic, the documentary examines the emotional trust, we now place in algorithms and computers.
AI: What It Takes to Be Human,” the project links to the work of Simon and UBS’s Nobel Perspectives marketing initiative.
An Echoborg is a human being that only speaks the words given it by an Artificial Intelligence.
Promoting cuddles considers how public messages in the future may be displayed, in order to support care relations in a world co-inhabited with sentiment machines.
"Jymmin" is a combination of "jamming" and "gym", a mixture of free musical improvisation and sports.