Emotion Winds

On the screen, the emotions of the world move and spread around the planet according to real-time winds, creating chance arabesques on the world map, forming meandered natural movements similar to the brushstrokes of Chinese calligraphy and ink drawing. Created through the automatic analysis of Internet data representing the emotions of 3200 of the world’s largest cities, the work understands the Internet as a de facto ‘World Nervous System’, or the harbinger of the planet’s emotional sensitivities.

Emotion Winds, is the last avatar of the Mechanics of Emotions series of artworks. Beginning in 2005, with MoBen’s solo show, e-Market, Emotional Market, at the 18 on the Bund Gallery in Shanghai, Mechanics of Emotions considers the ‘World Nervous System’ as reflecting the feelings and the emotions of humankind. Mechanics of Emotions includes installations, digital sculptures, musical performances, an Emotion Vending Machine, Interactive installations, and Urban Screens displayed all around the world (New, York, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Sydney, Melbourne, Seoul, Hong Kong… and Shanghai).

Emotion Winds expands the running theme of this far-reaching oeuvre, namely the relationship between ‘big data’ and what MoBen describes as ‘the human factor’ - that which makes something tangibly human. The works in the series utilize techniques from economics to measure human sensitivities or feelings, looking at ways in which conventional forms of the quantification of Big Data can give credence to systems detached from, or playing with, the very tenor of human emotions. In other works in the Mechanics of Emotions series, stock market data has been directly compared to information related to real human affects. In Emotion Winds, these same human emotions are overlaid and combined with graphic representations of natural phenomena such as global wind cycles, and a poetic visualization finally emerges of Internet emotion streams from different cities across the world being taken and shared by the power of the planet’s real winds.

This new work reflects the aesthetic impact of Asian culture on MoBen’s practice since his first installations in Asia (China, Korea, Japan…), and his recent move to Hong Kong.

Sound composition by Jean-Baptiste Barrière

engineering and Implementation: Wang Xiao

video on Youtube