This Artist Is Bottling and Selling Emotions

Taylor Kinser, Bottled Emotions (2014).
Courtesy the artist.

Running low on love? Can’t quite muster enough excitement? Just get in touch with Taylor Kinser. The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based artist and designer has created a conceptual artwork titled Bottled Emotions (2014), which is intended to not only make light of many people’s feelings of perpetual emotional draining, but also to satirize the collective impulse to buy things as substitutes for more meaningful emotional solutions.

And you thought canning smiles was a stretch.

“While there would certainly be no need to purchase emotions—they’re a natural act of being human—our consumer culture tells that buying something will help us work through an emotional time in our lives,” Kinser told the Chattanoogan. “This project is related to the idea of ‘drinking your way through’ a situation. It’s an observation on the consumption of emotional availability.”

While the colorful elixirs may evoke aphrodisiac potions and miracle cures, they are purely visual. Drinking from the bottle labeled “Anger” may provoke anger, but it will certainly cause serious illness and injury.

“Most of the ingredients were chosen by color,” Kinser explains. “Fear, for instance, in my mind was black. I used India ink and shards of stained glass to evoke the sense of fear. Excitement was blue detergent, pink paint, and liquid from a glow stick. Anger has a thick oozing red paint that lingers like anger would.”


Taylor Kinser, Bottled Emotions (2014).
Courtesy the artist.

The set of fake emotional essences, packaged in custom plastic bottles Kinser designer, comes with a handbook for using them titled Victory’s Tonic Guide.

“The tonic guide continued the conceptual work by giving recipes of how much of each emotion you need to have to get through big events,” she explained. “The guide meant to be both comical and serious since no one can put a quantity on how much of one emotion a person will need to get through something.”

True enough, but you may catch us reaching for a bottle of “Excitement” next time a week of big art fairs rolls around.

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