“This site specific installation is a traveling archive of embodied actions, monologues, memories, and messages left by the local communities of the places in which the work was installed. Visitors to the installation are volumetrically inserted into a bare virtual space, with their own body rendered in real-time using a 3D “point cloud.” They are given a button that allows them to switch between their own point of view and a floating, disembodied one, in which they still see their own body from the outside.
The project is named after Edward B. Titchener, the early 20th century British psychologist who coined the English word “empathy,” translated from the German “Einfühlung.” Initially, the word had less to do with purporting to “feel what’s it’s like to be another person,” and more to do with “feeling into” another person—examining our subjective, embodied sensory and aesthetic experience of other people, and even of objects. This distinction gains importance in light of a recurring claim in documentary immersive media that it can serve as an “empathy machine”. The installation, in contrast, provides a virtual experience that is centered on awareness of one’s own place and responsibility of the viewer’s body to put the viewer in somebody else’s shoes.
The piece is experienced by one person at a time which takes up to 10 minutes. May 11th (Fri): 10am-12pm, Myers Media Art Studio (Thorndike 51C), Columbia University. Watch the trailer: https://vimeo.com/191745055“
— via Unleashing, a college-wide exhibition from April 1 through May 31, 2018 at Columbia University, featuring site-specific, multi-media art installations that highlight the concepts of American philosopher Maxine Greene, whose idea of “social imagination” provides the ground for the works on display.