Skip to content

Ruben van de Ven

Ruben van de Ven

area: Digital Art

Choose how you feel; you have seven options © Ruben van de Ven

Choose how you feel; you have seven options © Ruben van de Ven

Emotion Hero 2016 © Ruben van de Ven

EYE Without A Face © Ruben van de Ven

EYE Without A Face © Ruben van de Ven

Key Facts




Digital Art



recommending institution

frei_raum Q21 exhibition space

time period

January 2017 - January 2017

Combining his backgrounds in filmmaking, programming and media design, Ruben van de Ven (NL) challenges alleged objective practices. He is intrigued by the intersection of highly cognitive procedures and ambiguous experiences.
He recently graduated from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam where he investigated computational quantification and categorisation of emotions.

2016 Summer Sessions - Arquivo237 (Lisbon, Portugal) organised by V2_ (Rotterdam, the Netherlands).


Emotion Hero – Digital <Dis>Orders (Frankfurt am Main, Germany)
Emotion Hero & We Know How You Feel - State Festival 2016 (Berlin, Germany)
Emotion Hero - Arquivo237 (Lisbon, Portugal)
Choose How You Feel; You Have Seven Options – Test_Lab, V2_ (Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
Choose How You Feel; You Have Seven Options – Fuzzy Logic, Piet Zwart Institute (Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
Eye Without A Face – ResearchLab `Boundaries of the Archive‘, Eye Film Museum (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

We Know How You Feel – Encyclopedia Of Media Objects, Piet Zwart Institute/V2_ (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)


- Digital <Dis>Orders, Frankfurt, Germany
- State Festival, Berlin, Germany – panel discussion
- Art Meets Radical Openness, Linz, Austria
- Cqrrelations publication launch, Brussels, Belgium
- Digital Emotions Work Group, University of Amsterdam
- Algorithmic Governmentality winter school, Namur, Belgium

<link https: _blank external-link-new-window externen link in neuem>

Ruben van de Ven


In my previous artistic research I examined emerging technologies that digitise emotions in an attempt to answer the question: what does it mean to feel 12% surprised and 57% joyful? I tried to break down the technical procedures of emotion recognition algorithms, and described how humanistic concept are forced in a positivist framework – thereby countering the claimed objectivity of these systems.

For my residency at Q21 I would like to take this research one step further and examine the positivist‘s desire for, and believe in, objective classification of the human individual. I want to trace back these desires over the past 200 years as they seem grounded in the birth of photography, when subjective observation was externalised to a seemingly objective apparatus. By collecting interviews with practitioners I want to collect a body of field research – delving from the minds of programmers not a single belief, but a rich multiplicity of desires, concerns, disagreements and contradictions.


During one month in Vienna, I have been further pursuing my research on emotion recognition software, finally having the time to read up on a lot of texts (in the beautiful library that is just around the corner!). Besides that I got in contact with several local developers and researchers, with whom I had brief interviews on the topic. This brought me in contact with a community that generously showed me around and who, over and over, put me in contact with others: I didn’t a notice a thing from the dreaded “Austrian hospitality”. At the end I also got in contact with the people from RIAT – with whom I certainly share some interests as well.
Furthermore, I prepared my work for ‘Mood Swings’, which will be in frei_raum in April-May and finished my publication on the topic for the Institute of Network Cultures. Finally, I also had two short studio visits with students in which I showed them my work and research.
Of course, the MQ itself is a beautiful place – and the studios certainly live up to that. Also the connection with other residents was warm. All the artists-in-residence were invited by different institutions, which made it a rich group. Particularly the dumpster-dive-dinners organised by  Kadija & Chico were great.
<link http: longform choose-how-you-feel-you-have-seven-options external-link-new-window externen link in neuem>

Back to main navigation

Cookie Settings

This websites uses cookies to give you the best possible service. Detailed information can be found in our Terms of use and Data Protection Regulations.

Technically essential

Technically essential cookies used to ensure the basic functionality of the website.


Functional cookies used to ensure the proper performance of the website.


Target-oriented cookies used to improve user experience.