Lonely Planet Writer

A town in New Zealand has a new ‘mood ATM’ where you can deposit your feelings

We often complain that banks don’t care about us, but this one promises to listen. Moodbank, an art installation that looks like an ATM, is asking residents in the New Zealand town of Whangarei to deposit their feelings instead of their cash.

Moodbank in New Zealand.
Moodbank in New Zealand. Image by Moodbank Facebook

Using a touch screen, passersby can choose from more than 1000 emotional options, from ‘hangry’ to ‘LOL-ing’.

Once a mood is entered, the machine shows a deposit slip that acknowledges the mood. The project’s website collects the results in the form of transactions on a bank statement and displays the trends to give an update on how the whole town is feeling. The end goal is to show the information in town, possibly using a projection system that updates in real time. The mood ATM will also travel around the city to encourage more people to participate.

“We think of a bank in terms of debt and credit and often we think of emotions in terms of happiness and sadness,” said Vanessa Crowe, the creator of Moodbank. “Happiness is aligned with credit, and sadness is aligned with debt, and we wanted to get people to recognise all emotions as having the same value”.

The project also previously had stints in Wellington, where it was originally placed in a former bank, and in AucklandTogetherTahi, a local community engagement group, brought Moodbank to Whangarei, which has a thriving arts scene.