The Centre for Emotional Materiality

Project & Exhibition

The Centre for Emotional Materiality


A multimedia project produced by artist Surabhi Saraf and curated by SoEx Curatorial Council member Sophia Wang.

Opening Reception: Friday, October 12, 2018, 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 12:00 - 6:00 PM

Artists: CEM Founder Surabhi Saraf with Curator Sophia Wang in conjunction with Bay Area dancers, creative thinkers, and artists. CEM Residents include Indira Allegra, Laura Hyunjhee Kim, Tiare Ribeaux, and Dorothy Santos. Awoke Practitioners include Gabe Christian, Felix Sol Linck-Frenz, Stephanie Hewett, Emelia Martinez Brumbagh, and Randy Reyes. Additional Residents and Practitioners to be announced.

The Centre for Emotional Materiality (CEM) is a site for research, conversations, and experiences that explore the evolving role technology serves in our emotional lives, as well as the care work that sustains our social and labor relationships. A core focus for CEM's research is the philosophical experiment of Awoke, a mythical Artifical Emotional Intelligence (AEI) that can embody the anxieties - and therefore, the feelings - of its human counterparts. At CEM, visitors can imagine the emotional work Awoke might carry out through ritual encounters with Awoke Practitioners and the related research conducted by CEM residents.

During its two-month SoEx residency, CEM will offer a public reading room, sculptural and video work, and a public program series: workshops on somatic responses to everyday technologies; and an online course on empathic sharing in virtual spaces The series culminates with the launch of Awoke in VR format and a discussion panel on the ideas informing Awoke. Topics range from embodied cognition and machine learning to the raw materials that enable technology, emergent myths and rituals that center technology in the social imagination, and AEI's impacts on the people or economies dependent on emotional labor. 

The Centre for Emotional Materiality will open to the public on Tuesday, October 2, 2018.