Don't Answer Be Happy

The installation Don't Answer Be Happy creates an interactive experience in which everything revolves around the personal smartphone. Engrossed in a conversation between their own personal smartphone and the surrounding artificial intelligence, visitors are compelled to take a stand. Confrontations with the ambivalence of digital reality arise, and evasion is not possible. The experienced space reflects upon the digital colonization regarding people and regions of this world outside of global tech hotspots.

Featured at Mapping Festival 2023

Don't Answer Be Happy was exhibited at the Mapping Festival 2023 in Geneva. For this reason, RTS produced a report on this project, which was broadcast on the most important news program in the Romandie.

This video is in French. The article with further content is available here:

Personal contribution

Together with Jonas Wolter I developed the whole concept of this interactive installation. In fact, we developed everything together in close exchange. We iterated on the concept and content and created a proper design system. For the programming I focused more on the web application, the server and the real-time communication between these.

Tech Stack

  • TouchDesigner
  • MadMapper
  • MaxMsp
  • SvelteKit
  • P5.js
  • Express.js


Conceptually the installation addresses the discourse of globalized technology and peeks behind the curtain of the hype surrounding artificial intelligence. In essence, it’s about how technological developments have an impact on our society and what this means for different regions and peoples of this world. Many tech solutions that have become indispensable in the global North and which we have become accustomed to, can only exist through the systematic exploitation of the global South. Without the major discrepancy in income and living conditions, we would not be able to live out this (in our case) tech luxury to this extent. The installation Don't Answer Be Happy focuses on the people who make Western tech luxury possible in the first place through their daily work in precarious conditions, be it clickwork in the creation of datasets that serve as the basis for AI algorithms, in content moderation, in the production of electronic devices or in their recycling. In the Congo, people are exploited to extract gold and cobalt for our smartphones. In China, workers have to assemble electronic devices which they could never afford due to non livable wages. In order for us to use social media without images of violence and abuse, people have to categorize images of violence, racism, and sexual assault every day. AI systems are only highly “intelligent” because they have been trained by thousands of clickworkers in India. However for us living in the global North, this side of digital reality is not largely visible.


  • Official selection of the Mapping Festival Geneva
  • Nomination Alumni Award Lucerne School of Art and Design


In the installation Don't Answer Be Happy we have developed a narrative around the personal smartphone, which deals with the issues described previously. The smartphone is the focal point and the depicting element that perfectly represents the difficulties created by technological globalization and digital colonization. In the installation the role of the visitor is inverted. The visitor is degraded to a clickworker and only acts as an extended arm of the smartphone. The smartphone develops an intelligence, but does not understand the irrationality and contradictory nature of human interaction with technology and begins to ask naive questions to its user. The visitor is confronted with questions and is required to take a stance.


The smartphone as the focal point of the different conflicts is also the interactive element. A new type of interaction was specifically developed for this installation, based on gyroscope data of the smartphone, which is accessed via a web application. All visual and auditory experiences in the space are based on the rotation of the smartphone. The visitor also provides answers to the questions by pointing the smartphone at different projections, resulting in an immersive experience.

Technology overview


  • Concept, Design, Programming, Setup - Jonas Wolter, Simon Müller
  • Sound Design - Said Boulacen