Emotional Futures is a web-based game that invites players to invest in their emotional future through interactions with friends. After each exchange, players evaluate their emotional output, turning them into liquid currencies: Blood, Sweat and Tears. These feed each player's unique Emoxy — an alchemical virtual creature that evolves with every level. The Emoxy accompanies players on their journey, inviting them to continue investing in their own growth while at the same time questioning the game’s logic. This situates the game in critical proximity to self-improvement apps (like mindfulness or wellbeing applications) that measure and gamify personal development. The more players interact with Emotional Futures, the more they are encouraged to reflect on the ways in which technologies are used to manipulate and monetise their emotions.
Emotional Futures was conceived during The Communes, a hackathon organised in 2021 by Black Swan, an artist-led DAO. The event modelled creative ways of using and distributing limited resources pledged by cultural partners including LAS. IRL came together as an artist collective during the event, and was supported by LAS in the realisation of Emotional Futures, their first artwork.
IRL Collective, Emotional Futures, 2023
Emotional Futures is collaboratively produced by Marcel Darienzo, Carina Erdmann, Steph Holl-Trieu, Andrew Pasquier, Xiaoji Song, Moritz Tontsch and Ingeborg Wie Henriksen.
© 2023 IRL
Commissioned by LAS Art Foundation
Special thanks to: Black Swan, Callie’s, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Léon Kruijswijk, Ed Fornieles, Penny Rafferty, Calum Bowden, Laura Lotti, Leïth Benkhedda, Agnesa Schmudke, Carly Whitefield, Patricia Reed
Emotional Futures is produced by IRL, a gaming collective under the distributed artistic direction of Marcel Darienzo, Carina Erdmann, Steph Holl-Trieu, Andrew Pasquier, Xiaoji Song, Moritz Tontsch and Ingeborg Wie Henriksen. IRL brings together the diverse political and creative practices of its members, to produce games that engage audiences in physical and digital role-playing. IRL emerged from a hackathon organised by the Berlin-based collective Black Swan at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, in August 2021. The following year, the group developed their first game concept while undertaking a residency at Callie’s. Their first game, Emotional Futures, is commissioned by LAS Art Foundation.
IRL logo font credit: Digital Disco by jeti