VPRO Medialab at Dutch Design Week 2017: 9 days, 23,000 visitors, 350 participants in AURA and 1 debate night. See our 'We Know How You Feel' project about wearable technology and measuring intimate data.

Imagine that in the future Netflix will be able to use a heart rate monitor in your smartwatch to know what mood you are in? Or that the NPO Gemist app will use your smartphone to measure that you find a particular series too scary? Do you want a tailor-made media service, to suit your mood and state of mind, or would you rather keep your emotions to yourself? And what does it mean for our privacy? Who does your emotional data actually belong to? These questions and more were central in We Know How You Feel during the Dutch Design Week from 21 to 29 October 2017. In this project, VPRO Medialab explored how wearable technology can play a role in making and consuming of media.

Measuring emotions

With every film or programme, we each have our own personal viewing experience and feel emotions relating to it. So why should a broadcaster offer the same programmes to everyone? VPRO Medialab sees wearables, wearable technological products such as a smartwatch or biochip, as one of the most important technological developments in relation to the creation and use of media. Through the internet and digital television, broadcasters and streaming services already know what you like and don't like. Our emotions have been our own until now, but it seems that this is about to change. With the help of wearables such as a heart rate, skin conductor or brain wave monitor, an estimation can be made of your emotions. And if broadcasters have this emotional data, is it then possible that they can use it to offer a personal viewing experience that fits in with your mood? We Know How You Feel consists of multiple components.

We Know How you Feel Exhibition

21 – 29 October 2017, 10h – 18h, Design Perron, free admission
Central in the exhibition is the interactive audiovisual artwork AURA by Studio Nick Verstand in cooperation with Salvador Breed and Naivi. In a hazed, darkened room, participants wear three biosensors. The sensors measure your emotions which are visualized into organic pulsing coloured light compositions. Each participant creates, with his or her emotional experience, a lichtcomposition and all these together form the artwork AURA.Invisible and intrinsic feelings become perceptible not only for the participants, but also for the audience watching. Do you dare to show your true colours?

We Know How You Feel Tonight

25 October 2017, 19.00 – 21.30, Effenaar, €5,-
We can measure how you feel, but do you want your emotional data to be public? And what are companies and media allowed to do with it? This interactive debate night dives into these topics with a.o. Nick Verstand, Maurits de Bruijn, Tijmen Schep en Geert-Jan Bogaerts.


Did you know that your choice of Instagram filters can indicate if you are predisposed to depression? Or that in the near future you only have to smile at your phone to type a smiley? At weknowhowyoufeel.nu you’ll discover unbelievable and sometimes disturbing projects in the field of personal data, wearable technology and emotion recognition.

Dear CEO

For Dear CEO, The Gr1p Foundation, on request of the VPRO Medialab, connected some of the most prominent technology thinkers of the moment to representatives of companies and government to debate wearables and media. Through a unique letter exchange, they research the rough edges of this technology and unearth the most pressing controversies together. 

Inspired by these exchanges? Now it is up to you, the reader, to determine your position vis-a-vis wearable tech.