(edited by) Sabine Himmelsbach, Angelique Spaninks, Ariane Koek – Real Feelings, Emotion and Technology


Christoph Merian Verlag, ISBN-13: 978-3856169312, English, 192 pages, 2020, Switzerland

Technology’s influence on our emotions is a recurring topic in digital culture discourse, especially since we entered the era of the quantified self. In particular, facial recognition have become widespread and accepted, while AI has begun to display plausible emotional interpretations. The three curators of Real Feelings, Emotion and Technology, hosted at HEK are the editors of this catalogue. It is one of the first times that a publication of this kind has mentioned Covid-19 in the texts, both as a social crisis and as a production problem. Nonetheless the exhibition has been produced and visited, with a Zoom preview inviting all the people involved. The catalogue features an accurate iconography of all the works, and three particular contributions: an enlightening and comprehensive text about feeling and post-truth by co-curator Ariane Koek, an explanation by neuroscientist António Damásio on the biological importance of feelings and their possible implementations in robotics, and a diary about feelings and interface mediations by artist Cécile B. Evans, one of twenty international selected artists. With an impressive cover design concept (a superimposed transparent jacket incorporates Coralie Vogelaar’s work to train emotion recognition in AI), this catalogue is both a valuable supplement and a veritable legacy of the exhibition.