Embodied empathy, 2022
Embodied empathy consists of a handblown glass heart with embedded electronics, which enables it to pulsate through light. The piece has recordings of the heartbeats of migrants during their interviews for the Emideks project. Each interview is stripped from audio and video, and the only thing presented is the actual rhythm of the heartbeat as it evolves through the conversation with the interviewer.
This project is a product of generous dialogue and mutual inspiration from the participants of the Emideks project. We are very grateful for their contributions and support.
EMIDEKS project is funded by RUC University / CIRCLES. We are grateful to RUC FabLab and the It-service department for providing us with the electronic components, equipment and support.
Materials: Handblown glass, Arduino, cables, light, electric parts
Concept, design and programming: Mads Hobye
Interview and heart rate capture: Fernando Palacios & Eric K. Hahonou
Scientific supervision: Eric K. Hahonou (head of EMIDEKS project)
Curatorial support: Anne Julie Arnfred
EMIDEKS, MOVING STORIES, EXHIBITION
Moving Stories is an art-based research-exhibition about migration. The exhibition is based on interviews with six research participants, each with their own experience of migration. The exhibition takes its point of departure in the ethnographic inquiry and through a series of art installations materialises the emotions connected to them.
We don't believe that emotion and reason should be opposed but on the contrary, they are complementary tools that we are granted to understand the world that surrounds us, to understand others and to understand ourselves. We observed that the heart is the symbolic location of emotions and feelings as well as the organ that circulates blood in all parts of the human body. Therefore during the interviews, the research participants' heartbeats were recorded. We could say that we wanted to see how a project focused on emotion could be inspired by the idea of circulating knowledge through a focus on emotions precisely because emotions tend to be left out in our academic accounts of social life.
However, ethnographic data were not merely a source of inspiration or data. Art and research were performed in synergic ways throughout the whole research process. Moreover, we invested our efforts in challenging researchers-researched relations of asymmetric power by moving away from conventional observers and analysts by building up 'a working knowledge' with our research participants during workshops.
What came out of this experiment you can experience here. It is not a finished product, but rather a series of material manifestations based on our research, our emotions, the conducted interviews and the discussion we had in the EMIDEKS (Emotional Interaction Design for Knowledge Sharing) research-group, that is behind this exhibition. Asking questions such as: What is a migration? Are we all at some point migrants? And how do migrations affect us?