STATE Festival 2016

This was STATE Festival 2016: STATE of Emotion - The Sentimental Machine

Festival Guide: STATE Festival 2016

Festival Guide: STATE Festival 2016

Under the title “STATE OF EMOTION – The Sentimental Machine”, the STATE Festival 2016 dealt with the scientific and technological breakthroughs at the interface between emotional research and artificial intelligence as well as their social implications and possible future developments.

Together with numerous national and international partners from science, industry, culture and the media, STATE Festival hosted events from October 24 to November 6, 2016, in different locations in Berlin. The festival consisted of a satellite program and partner events from October 24 to November 2 and the main festival from November 3 to 5. The festival program of the main festival at the Kühlhaus, an industrial hall in Berlin-Kreuzberg, presented scientific lectures, panel discussions, film program and performances on over 3000 square meters. Immersive visitor experiences, workshops, art installations and various interactive formats invited the visitors to discuss the latest developments and findings in the border area between emotions research and artificial intelligence.


STATE of EMOTION - The Sentimental Machine

Emotions are a fundamental source of our personal experiences and shape the most important moments of our lives. They are the basis of what we accept as human and constitute us as individuals. Or are our feelings still just rudimentary survival mechanisms, made up of instincts that we share with other creatures? Silent news whispered from the depths of our subconscious: a stomach feeling synthesized from millions of small signals that make us feel anxious, in love, or excited?

If our emotions can be better understood and categorized, they can also be quantified, measured and monetized. But not only research on human emotions is making great progress. Development in the field of emotional artificial intelligence is progressing rapidly. What should we think about a future in which emphatic robots can read and react to our innermost feelings? Is this the key to a better life? A more satisfying customer experience? Or the final end of our privacy. Empirical studies have deprived emotions of the majority of scientific history. Driven by technological progress and new experimental possibilities, the field of emotional research is now experiencing a boom. But the scientific community is still divided in some fundamental aspects.

STATE Festival 2016 took the current state of scientific research and the resulting technologies as a starting point for the joint discussion of possible future scenarios and potential technological developments in the field of emotional research and artificial intelligence. The topics ranged from the biological, psychological and socio-cultural origins of emotions to the philosophical and political questions resulting from current developments in the field of artificial intelligence and affective monitoring technologies. The festival program not only provided an overview of the research area, but also provided a platform for discussion, reflection and speculation about the changes resulting from the developments and the necessary social adaptations and reactions.


24.10-2.11.2016 – Partner Program & Satellites

With 10 days of partner programs, STATE Festival collaborated with a variety of different institutions across Berlin which hosted thematically related events.

25.-29.10.2016 – PopUpLab

Futurium will move into a newly designed museum building in 2017, and until then the mobile lab is enjoying a series of nomadic residencies, for example at STATE Festival and for a whole week in advance, as part of the STATE’s partner program, Futurium hosted hands-on workshops and panel discussions in a specially designed space at Bülowstraße 90.

28.10.2016 – Evening of Artificial Creativity

In cooperation with the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, STATE presented an evening with talks, artist presentation and performances all about artificial creativity, ending the academy’s two day program “How do new ideas come into being? Analog thinking in science and art – Leibniz’s idea of invention”.

3.11.2016 – Opening Night

An evening in Berlin’s Museum for Natural History explored animal emotions and prepared festival-goers for the exciting exhibits planned for the Kühlhaus in the followed days. Highlights included a keynote lecture in the Dinosaur Hall and wild music from a popular Berlin DJ and Producer, Grizzly.

4.-5.11.2016 – Main Festival

Hosted at the Kühlhaus, STATE Festival 2016 showcased the latest developments, works and actors at the intersection of current emotions research and artificial intelligence. Highly interactive demonstrations blended seamlessly with artworks, films, performances and hands- on workshops allowing participants to get involved and share ideas and personal discussions with experts and creatives in the fields of science, art and culture.


Main Funding Partners


Bayer Kultur

Schering Stiftung

Additional Funding Partners

Robert Bosch Stiftung

Helmholtz Gemeinschaft

Max-Planck Gesellschaft

Hertie Stiftung

Media Partners

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


Travel Partners

Air Berlin



Christian Rauch

Daniela Silvestrin
Curator Exhibition & Performances

Pablo Rojas
Curator Conference

Vena Ward
Curator Film

Teresa Dillon
Curator Workshops & Interactives

Katharina Meyer
PopUp Lab

*Initial theme developed by: Daniela Silvestrin, Lucy Patterson, and Christian Rauch


Julio Brandl

Samantha Wareing
Press & Communications

Maria Manuel Nunes
Social Media



Sibylle Kerlisch

Florian Tietze
Technical Production

Veronika Natter
Production & Partnerships

Aino Onia
Production Assistant
(Workshops & Interactives)

Katerina Michailidi
Production Assistant (Exhibition & Performances)

Lindsay Petley-Ragan
Production Assistant (Conference)

Johanna Karstila
Hospitality Management

Robert Wöstenfeld
Volunteer Coordinator

Tobias Pieper


Martin Wunderer
Art Direction, Design

Johanna Dreyer
Art Direction, Design

Katharina Weiß
Art Direction, Design

Isabel Prugger
Exhibition Design