Emotion Hero (2016)

Ruben van der Ven

Sponsor: V2_Lab, Host: Arquivo 237

What does it mean to feel 48 percent surprised or 18 percent joyful? Emotion recognition software is being used both as a tool for ‘objective’ measurements as well as a tool for training one’s facial expressions, eg. for job interviews. Emotion Hero is a literal translation of the paradoxical relation between these applications of the technology.

In order to substantiate their discourse, companies in facial expression measurement employ a huge amount of data collection and processing. With Emotion Hero, the results are displayed in a fixed grid, recalling historical practices that, trough extensive measurement and administration, also aimed to delineate something which is conceptually undelineated: think of Duchenne de Boulogne, Lombroso, and Charcot.

Emotion Hero is a playful invitation to open up the box of expression analysis to reveal the assumptions that underlie this technology. What are we looking at when we read emotion scores? Which leads one to wonder what we are looking for in these numbers.

The game’s emotional intelligence is powered by Affectiva.

Available in the Google Play Store

This project is produced as part of the Summer Sessions Network for Talent Development in a co-production of Arquivo 237 and V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media, with support of the Creative Industries Fund NL.