Smilemaskinen, in English the Smiling Mthumb_dsc05301_1024achine, is an installation made for the cultural event ‘Aarhus Festuge 2016’. 10 of the smiling machines was located on different sites on a track called ‘Bysgerrig Baggårdsvandring’ – a walk through some of the hidden places in Aarhus CBD, such as back yards and the rooftop of Salling.

We were inspired by the thought of creating an expression as simple as possible. What could be simpler than a line?


The final result was a strip with threats connected to a small box with a motor imbedded. A light sensor was programmed to react on the light in the surrounded area, making the strip go up or down. Smilemaskinen got its name because of the strips shape would simulate a mouth – smiling at daytime and sad at night time. The theme of Aarhus Festuge 2016 was ‘Upside Down’ which made our installation perfect for the cultural event.


We wanted to build Smilemaskingen by using cheap materials because of its locations in the city and because of the risk of rain. The DIY look had the purpose of inviting curious perceivers to explore the content of the box and technology. Throughout the week some Smilemaskiner disappeared or were found open. We wanted to create a transparent relation between the expression and the technology. Also, the idea of someone bringing Smilemaskinen home was interesting, at least for us.