Wooden structure with atmosphere. Fabric, lighting, felt, salt, inflatable balls, lamps and welding curtain

Artists: Rutie Borthwick & Rebecca James, Scientist: Matilde Vaghi

What’s Your Mood? offers participants a moment to notice their feelings and sensations in response to an unfamiliar environment.

Artists Rutie and Rebecca have built this structure in reference to the process studied by cognitive neuroscientist Matilde Vaghi. Matilde measures how mood influences the way we make decisions. In the lab, participants are asked to make simple choices and report their mood on a scale, in the context of well-controlled experiments.

This work creates an IRL version. Its logic resembles a video game and asks the player to choose their direction, notice their environment and pay attention to their physical experience.


To begin, each person creates a label for themselves to describe how they are feeling. As they engage with the artwork, their labels with sensations and emotions are left behind, placed on the surfaces of the structure as the participants recognise a change or shift in their mood. A moment of self recognition and self-expression.

By expanding the lab process to include different spaces, each person is offered creative choices and an opportunity to reflect on their sensory response. The data produced is nuanced and demonstrates each individual’s interaction with the spaces they encounter. As the labels build up they provide a context and social connection for those who follow.

Artwork Team

Matilde Vaghi headshot

Matilde Vaghi

An image of Rutie Borthwick

Rutie Borthwick

An image of art

Rebecca James