Moodbank – a roundtable discussion

I was invited to take part in the roundtable discussion together with Dr Sarah Elsie Baker, Vanessa Crowe, Sophie Jerram, Amanda Levey, Dr. Dan Weijers and Matthew Ellingsen.

Moodbank is a pop-up bank and art project where you can visualise, deposit and exchange mood. 29 Manners Street, Wellington, 13th – 22nd March 2014.
The Moodbank is a collaborative project led by Vanessa Crowe and Dr Sarah Elsie Baker, run with support from Victoria University of Wellington, The Public Art Fund and Urban Dream Brokerage.

The project consciously acknowledges and validates all moods rather than just those that are deemed valuable in consumer culture. We want to provoke debate regarding appropriate/inappropriate emotion and the privileging of happiness. By mimicking and subverting the aesthetics of a bank and by contrasting analogue and digital data we hope to draw attention to the processes in which our feelings become commercially valuable. In our attempt to make the collective mood of the city visible we propose a social rather than an economic form of exchange. Mood is intimate, relational, and contextual; it is complex, contradictory and messy. By visualising how we feel we are recognising the value of the often unseen emotional experiences that make up our collective mood.

Moodbank Image

The discussion surrounded the issues of collecting citizen data and rendering moods through analytic algorithms, giving mood a quantifiable value. In contrast to online data acquisition the moodbank allowed any deposit, the deposit slips are predominantly human-readable and very insightful. I am looking forward to seeing the posters based on people’s mood drawings spread around town and gaining more attention for this intriguing project.