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I remember the shortlived enchantment I felt when I first learned about mood rings. It was shortlived because a more worldly kid (worldly here meaning “has a big sister”) inevitably had to break the news that mood rings tell your temperature and not your actual emotions. No matter though. I found alternate enchantment in the idea that colour could correspond to a bodily state and colour being used to reveal any data- even if it’s obvious- is undeniably a kind of everyday magic. So magical in fact, that it seems to have obscured the underlying premise of the mood ring, which, upon reflection, is something like: without me, your true emotions are ultimately unknowable.

The mood ring assumes you are a great mystery that only it can solve. Taking this claim at face value, I have to think that surely the omniscience of the mood ring doesn’t end with knowing the wearer’s feelings. In You can tell me more, I choose to believe in the mood rings’ supposed power and flatter it with a series of rituals to honour, cleanse, nurture and adorn.

You see, I think I know how I feel, but what do I really know? Mood ring will tell me. And just maybe, if I play my cards right, it could tell me even more.

Music and spoken word samples from and steelyvibe on

Thank you to Ivan Jurakic and Sarah Kernohan from the University of Waterloo Art Gallery for the reflective material.

Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for supporting the exhibition of this work