Today we try to limit the friction between the interaction of users and digital tools as much as possible. Anxiously, we want to avoid users having a bad experience with our product.
The search for a pay button on a website, filters that don’t perform optimally, having to enter your user details multiple times, the display of the microwave that isn’t manageable, a washing machine with complicated programs or not being able to find a certain function of an app. The list of negative user experiences is endless.
In the world of online shopping, this becomes even more important. You don’t want your user to have to look too long for what he or she wants and run the risk of losing a customer.
This means that we have to give it all we’ve got from a technological point of view, to find out what our user wants, how he/she thinks and feels.
We used to have physical user groups to test our applications. Today this process continues to be automated more and more every day. Not only do we know where our users click and how often they visit a website, but with the help of AI we’re also looking for patterns now. When is the user most influenceable to buy something, which colour stimulates him/her to execute something, which images are appealing to him or her? Everything is set to rule out any negative experience: ‘You “will” be a happy customer!’, and from the position of the user of digital tools, a positive evolution.
However, this can lead to a very narrow emotional perception of the world, divided into 5 smileys.
The entire scale of feelings between, underneath, above,… are completely ignored. The focus is on constantly being happy and with technology we will do everything to steer that experience in that direction as well.
But people aren’t always happy. Emotions aren’t always black - white or linear. You can be happy and sad at the same time, you can be disgusted while being euphoric and be completely stressed out while longing for something.
This leads me to the statement of Peter De Roover, that 'art and culture should be about beauty in order to qualify for government grants'. With this, he contributes to the above-mentioned trend. It has to be frictionless. You have to swallow things without feeling anything.
In my opinion that is the exact essence of art in de broad meaning of the word. It’s about feeling something. Not with your head, but with the inside of your body: art can ache where your heart is, feel sickening in your stomach or give you butterflies. The emotion that’s generated by art can or even has to cause friction. It carries us through an entire scale of feelings that can’t be divided into 5 smileys. The importance of art will become more important in a future where emotions will be flattened and steered artificially.
Art has to keep offering us the entire arsenal of emotions. It makes us realize that there is a body attached to our head, that we are living creatures and that feeling is a part of who we are.
Art doesn’t have to be pretty.. it “is”.
And it’s the government’s job to make sure that we don’t change into robots in these highly technological times.
Picture by Simon Stålenhag – We Need To Talk About Annika IV