It's all about the feelings... (Inspace performance)

Beverley Hood (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

Abstract / Description of output

It’s all about the feelings… is a project about emotion. Specifically, how emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies attempt to read our emotions.

Technology driven sentiment recognition systems are used as tools to help companies understand user interactions on mobile, website and gaming platforms. Pitched as capturing ‘real-time emotion’ and ‘non-conscious responses’, sentiment recognition uses natural language processing, face recognition and biometrics, to systematically identify users affective states i.e. emotion. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems are not without bias and problematic standardisation. Without careful consideration and application, the reductive algorithms of these systems are in danger of reinforcing inequalities, racism, sexism, ageism and western cultural bias.

It’s all about the feelings… uses digital media and performance to make visible how these technologies actually work, behind the smoke and mirrors. The project led by artist Beverley hood, brings together actor Pauline Goldsmith, and AI researcher Benedetta Catanzariti, with affective computing and psychology researchers, including to explore ways to make visible the algorithmic biases and limitations of sentiment recognition systems as they attempt to read us.

The performance was presented as an in-person event at Inspace, University of Edinburgh on 3rd June 2022, as part presentation, part performance, part demonstration. Working with actor Pauline Goldsmith, skilled in professionally crafted emotional display, the project scrutinises whether the technology is really capable of seeing our non-conscious (as the marketing suggests) or just what we present, through choice, control, cultural signifiers, etc. The project teases out how authentic and rich this relationship between the performer and technology can be, and the slippage between technological aspirations and lived reality.

The project is part of the The New Real programme on Experiential AI, with additional support from TramwaySupports, Edinburgh College of Art, the Edinburgh Futures Institute, the Centre for Data, Culture & Society, Creative Informatics and Cove Park.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2022


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