Happy Place

The Museum of the Home, London

Summer 2020

What does your Happy Place look like? And, how can you make your home more like it?

‘Happy Place’ is a research-driven art project that explores the relationship between home and mental health. Developed in collaboration with masters students of the Knowledge Lab at Birkbeck University, it will be showcased as the inaugural solo show at the Museum of the Home’s (formerly Geffrye Museum) new contemporary gallery.

What is it?

Through choices you make in the game, you create a visual representation of your Happy Place: a Psyche-Selfie, a snapshot of your subconscious!

The process combines principles of gamification (harnessing the power of the crowd) memetic evolution theory (which examines how ideas evolve within a culture) with machine learning (artificial intelligence) to intelligently develop a computer programme that can track and even predict subconscious visual language across cultures and individuals.

The aim of the project with the museum is to increase our understanding of the relationship between home, Happy Place and mental health by tracking how people choose to visually communicate an emotionally charged concept.

When can I play the Happy Place game?

The Happy Place game will be available on The Museum of the Home‘s website this coming summer.

More about the project

Our exhibition is called Happy Place and uses this well-known concept of the safe space that you go to in your mind during times of stress or anxiety as an entry point to explore these themes of visual language, mental health and home.

We have collaborated with Birkbeck University to develop an interactive digital art making programme that uses AI to take snapshots of people’s conceptual Happy Place. We call these snapshots, “Psyche-Selfies” as they’re artistic interpretations of people’s subconscious sanctuaries. Each Psyche-Selfie is a personalised artwork that the participant has created in collaboration with our AI – very limited edition of 1 as no two Psyche-Selfies will be the same.

The machine learning algorithms were developed by three brilliant masters students on the Advanced Computer Technologies and Data Analysis courses at Birkbeck University who are using our project as a case study for their masters theses. As you build your artwork with the compuer programme it is not only learning from your preferences but also predicting which artworks you may prefer which is at the heart of our study into developing a more objective perspective in mapping out people’s subconscious visual language.

Once we have collected a significant number of Psyche-Selfies, we will then move on to the research phase of our project and look for visual patterns in these artworks to try and identify any common themes to provide insight into the collective Happy Place. This data will then be produced in a visually exciting data report that will be given to the relevant charities and councils in the hopes of providing better insight into how to make people’s homes happier places.