Mirrorbox: The Story of How Art Became Science
Do you feel what I feel?
Empathy is one of our most complex and complicated human tendencies. It is the (likely) inherent capacity of the human mind to not only be affected by, but often share in the emotions and inner life of those we observe. We’ve felt it with friends and loved ones, strangers and fictional characters, and it’s so strong that many even connect with pets and animals.
As Aristotle said, “To perceive is to suffer.”
Our visual system is at the heart of how we identify self from non-self in emotion and physical space. But what if that visual input broke down? How would it change our perception of “me” and “you” and what we feel?
Mirrorbox is a haunting digital apparatus worn by two people that projects part of the other’s face over a mirror of your own. I’ve never had the pleasure of trying it, but explore the project in this video and see its effects for yourself.
It breaks down the walls of our neural identity and challenges how we relate body and emotion. Part art, and part science for every two people who step inside, we learn a bit more about how our brains have evolved to feel beyond ourselves.
Awesome work. Also … whoa.
It’s kind of depressing that this study suggests that Westeners have to be retrained to empathize with other members of our own species.