Smile Like You Really Mean It! is an investigation into emotional labour. The term, introduced by sociologist Arlie Rusell Hochchild, describes the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job. It is most obvious in the service sector, but not only! The project focuses on facial expressions, particularly the smile. This genuine gesture is often misused or over-performed. What if smiling becomes a purely transactional act, detached from the world of feelings?

The ATM device symbolizes the exclusion of direct human interaction for the sake of efficiency and performance. In the replica, the smile is put into an emotionless reality where it becomes a commodity no other than aluminum, wheat or gold — dehumanized and part of a larger system. The base price for a minute of smiling is €1,00, but its value fluctuates in the stock market. Smile like you really mean it and get your share.

Amsterdam, 2023