And how are we feeling today? is an exhibition that inquiries into economies of affect, structures of feeling, and emotions as commodities.
The common scenario in which a doctor initially greets a patient with the question “…And how are we feeling today?” provides an analogy with which to consider the politics of “care” in the making and maintenance of contemporary life. Within this context, “feelings” refer not only to socially constructed emotions or linguistically expressed physical sensations, but also to affects – as capacities to act and to be acted upon that are not yet categorized as bodily, mental, or emotional, nor recognized by the conscious individual. Present in all biological and social phenomena, affect figures significantly into our current forms and modes of political control, economic production, and social reproduction in late capitalism. The question of “feeling” therefore insists upon a politics that must operate on the level of affect.
And how are we feeling today? presents documents, videos, performance, sound, sculptural objects, and installations by Nina Canell, the Feminist Economics Department (the FED), Melanie Gilligan, Vishal Jugdeo, Reena Katz aka Radiodress, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Anna Sew Hoy and Wages for Facebook. The contributors of this exhibition variously consider our current structure of feeling through experiments with relationality. Empathic relations expand to electromagnetic waves of radio frequency and other imperceptible scales of matter. Demonstrations of other sensory modes, such as the aural and haptic, induce empathy through operations of resonance, absorption, and support. Simulated spaces of affective exchange introduce rupture into capitalism’s psychic and biopolitical dimensions. Proposals for action address certain forms of affect production, in which carework are both paternalistic and feminist political formulations, and social media is self-service as well as unwaged labor.
With these considerations, we are asked to think from the perspective of “feeling” and about what political potential may lie in affects, feelings, and emotions.