Empathy Ecologies

March 6th 20:45-21:35 March 6th 21:45-22:30 FRAS 1

EMPATHY ECOLOGIES A poetic, interactive performance installation for the question: Can we measure biofeedback for empathy between plants and humans? The Empathy Ecologies experiment is meant for affecting planetary yet unpredictable Ecologies of Empathy. Today we share a dominant approach to sustainable eco-systems in the form of SAVING NATURE. We solve problems: we improve agro-culture, we save forests, we fly less. Although important, on the long term, this approach still puts human activity central, in an Anthropocene view: opposite to nature. Empathy Ecologies explores a fundamentally different approach. It proposes an empathetic global system WITH NATURE. In this synthesis of human and non-humans, 'we are part of nature'. It explores a future biofeedback synthesis of plants and humans, based on empathy. Plants are known to react on human presence, sound and (aggressive or caring) communication. The experimental biofeedback synthesis therefor combines human and plant experience, acts of kissing and caressing in intimate connection; and shared bio-feedback. In this human-plant-technology eco-system, the audience is invited to perform and share a new embodied ‘empathy-practice’ with plants. PERFORMANCE-INSTALLATION. The installation’s theatrical architecture consists of various, nomadic aerial root plants hanging from the ceiling. Visually, the plant’s baroque roots, leaves and flowers create a transparent romantic ‘mini-forest’. The plants hang close together, in a circle. Inside the circle, an intimate space invites a maximum of four participants to enter. Visible for audience around, the semi-transparent forest seems to embrace the participants inside. Participants inside wear EEG headsets to measure their brain activity while kissing or carefully caressing each other’s faces. Simultaneously, biofeedback (CO2, nitrogen, oxygen) of plants close to their bodies is measured. The resulting bio-feedback data, of both plants and participants, are real-time compared and combined. The shared human-plant bio-feedback is real-time processed in an algorithm and translated to data-visualization and data-audification (soundscape). Plants and humans together co-create a musical environment, in turn affecting a shared atmosphere in space. Practical: The performance installation is meant for participants and spectators, both vital to the event. The human-plant-technology eco-system of EEG measuring kissing and caressing is hosted by the artists. 4 participants at the time wear EEG headsets, changing approximately every 15 minutes. 

Art-Science researcher-duo Lancel/Maat (Karen Lancel, Hermen Maat, explores posthuman social, bio-technological entanglement with (non-)human others in interactive, interdisciplinary performance installations. Awards: Global AI&Art China 2018; WuGuanzhong Art-Science Innovation 2019; Netherlands Film Festival Golden Calf Interactive 2019. International shows: World-Expo2010 Shanghai; Venice-Biennale2015; Ars Electronica Linz; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; TASIE Beijing, FrascatiTheatres/ De Appel/ DasArts Amsterdam; ZKM Karlsruhe. Fellowships: BanffCenter Canada, Tsinghua University Beijing. Lectures: CHI2018, Leonardo, ISEA published by Springer, MIT. Grants: MondriaanFund; NWO Netherlands Scientific Research; EMAP Creative Europe Programme. Lancel is PhD-researcher at Technological University Delft and headed MFA media-art Hanze University Groningen, where Maat is lecturer PhD-researcher. 

Credits: Mondriaan Fund, TU Delft - Participatory Systems Initiative, Hanze University Groningen, Lois Simon, STEIM, Eagle Science Amsterdam, Baltan Laboratories, EUROPEAN MEDIA ART PLATFORM EMAP / Creative Europe Programme of the European Union

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