Office for Screenless Technology

Emotional Talks

These photos are stills of a series of conversations Luna and Roel have had revolving around the relationship between humans and machines. Does digitisation manoeuvre us towards a more rational, frictionless and optimised world? Do emoji have the potential to represent our emotions? Can you still be a tech optimist?

We decided to have performative conversations about how digital culture informs our daily lives, about the selfie, the ego and their shrinking tech optimism. These conversations took place against the backdrop of the Swiss mountains and the old village of Tschlin. The faces of Roel and Luna are painted yellow to create an emoji-persona having the conversations. A special construction with a smartphone attached to a helmet was developed by Thomas to film the faces from upfront.

The conversations however did not only revolve around the topics we planned to discuss. The intention of a ‘podcast-like’ conversation failed due to their personal relationship.

The viewer becomes witness of a conversation where pleasure, assertiveness, wanting to be seen, fragility and insecurity constantly alternate. Real emotions seep through the yellow painted faces and their authority on the subject matter seems less founded than they thought.

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Facing fatschadas

Facing Fatschadas is part of a QR code based VR project on the facade of Somalgors74 an art space in Tschlin. We decided to leave all words out and only depict the facial expressions emerging during the conversations we had earlier.

One side of the facade focuses on the real emotions and facial expressions Roel and Luna are completely unaware of. The second façade is a compilation of re-enacted emotions that occurred during the days. Framed in a chat speech bubble the moving emojis are arranged on the facade like ancestral portraits.

The project combines the tradition of sgraffito on Engadin house facades with a contemporary, digital culture. It plays with the connection between the terms façade and face, which in Rhaeto-Romanic is almost identical to fatscha and fatschada.

What influence do digital perfection and clarity have on our communication and perception of the physical reality in which we still live? Do emojis have the potential to represent our emotions? Can we still read our facial expressions full of ambivalence or are our faces becoming bold facades?

The QR code is cut out of the facade by hand by Jan Robert Leegte. Do you want to see this work? Simply travel to Somalgors Tschlin, and point your camera to the facade to download the app.

Once in Tschlin, don't forget to say hi to Curdin.

Emoji is all we have

With a yellow painted face Roel mimics emoji provided by Unicode

'Emoji is all we have' is a short film reflecting on our current state of digital culture.

While technology is intended to help and support our human shortcomings, this film depicts a reversed hierarchy between man and machine. The man adapts to the dictating machine.
It thematises the safe harbour an emoji can be. Emotions are served to us as a binary unicode, stripped from doubt and complex layers. The struggling, imperfect human with its multilayered, subtle, facial expressions are mapped onto perfectly defined, simplified and frictionless icons.

The pandemic has forced many of us to lead an even more digital life. Available technology defines the possibility space and the nature of our communication, now physical contact often is not allowed. We are placing an increasing amount of surfaces, screens and interfaces between ourselves and the ones we are communicating with. Those surfaces are effectively blocking covid, but as a side effect they also affect our emotional sensation.


  • Direction
    Luna Maurer
    Roel Wouters
  • Production
  • Commisioner Facing Fatschadas
    Curdin Tones
  • Video post production
    Fabian Pitzer