Emotion winds

Maurice Benayoun, 2014

Generative digital artwork

Materials, techniques and processes: video projection

Dimensions: screen dimensions vary from space to space

Themes: the emotions of the world are recorded in real time and then projected onto a planisphere in the form of currents of air

One of the consequences of the computerization of our planet is that we now consider the world to be fully quantifiable. The financial sector has been the primary beneficiary of this generalised quantitative transformation. As a consequence, performance-driven economics have replaced politics as the most influential force driving the city. In this transition, the people - the city’s principal raison d’être - have been neglected. 

The ‘global nervous system’ that is the Internet helps us at once to feel and understand the causes and effects of computerization in real time. Beyond economics, online news and current affairs reflect the ever-changing emotional state of the world, and reveal the importance of the human in political and financial dynamics. Part of the Mechanics of Emotions (1) project, Emotion Winds makes ‘currents of emotion’ visible; emerging from 3200 of the largest global cities, the currents are recorded in real time all over the world. The artwork reveals how the emotional sensitivity of the planet can be the initial driving-force of social and economic changes, and how, conversely, economic changes can provoke human emotional responses.

Emotion Winds is a poetic instance of what Maurice Benayoun calls ‘Critical Fusion’; it’s the existence of a fiction - found at the very heart of reality - which enables us to decipher the world: blown and tossed about by the wind, the human factor returns.


Photos and video by Maurice Benayoun

Voice over : Harry Long

(1) Maurice Benayoun started the Mechanics of Emotions project in 2005. This series comprises online artworks, urban installations, screens in urban spaces, sculptures, and prints. Of the 15 pieces, we cover: Emotion Forecast, Emotion Vending Machine, Occupy Wall Screens, E-Scrape Today, Emotion Market, or Emotion Traffic...The Mechanics of Emotion has been put on display all over the world, in Paris, Shanghai, New York, Berlin, Dubai, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney. Visible in museums, galleries, and public events, the artworks of the Mechanics of Emotion form a part of public and private collections.