Vanessa Crowe

Moodbank & Imperial Moods

City spaces have often been thought about in terms of the functional flows of people and things: the money that is exchanged, the congestion of rush hour, the accumulation of rubbish and the cold face of professionalism. More recently businesses and governments have come to see the value in finding out how happy we are. But what about the more diverse and complex emotional life of the city? How do we actually feel?


 The project consciously acknowledges and validates all moods rather than just those that are deemed valuable in consumer culture. We want to provoke debate regarding appropriate/inappropriate emotion and the privileging of happiness. By mimicking and subverting the aesthetics of a bank and by contrasting analogue and digital data we hope to draw attention to the processes in which our feelings become commercially valuable. In our attempt to make the collective mood of the city visible we propose a social rather than an economic form of exchange.  Mood is intimate, relational, and contextual; it is complex, contradictory and messy. By visualising how we feel we are recognising the value of the often unseen emotional experiences that make up our collective mood.

The Moodbank is a collaborative project led by Vanessa Crowe and Dr Sarah Elsie Baker, run with support from Victoria University of Wellington, The Public Art Fund and Urban Dream Brokerage.

Vanessa Crowe is a practicing artist/critical designer who work explores the messy parts of everyday life that usually go unnoticed or are hidden away.  Her art brings the actuality of everyday life into public view. Vanessa practice involves working both independently and within collaborations, she is the co-producer of  Moodbank, a bank who’s currency is mood rather money, offering a social rather than an economic form of exchange. Imperial Moods, the next iteration of this project will open in the Auckland in late October.  Vanessa lives in Paekakariki and works part time in senior tutor & visiting lecturer roles at Massey College of Creative Arts and Victoria School of Design in Wellington.