The Empathy Machine: Towards a Networked Sensorium

Empathy: To make less distinct the differences between the self and the other

In an experiment about this new cultural and technological landscape, I created this set of devices, which allow you to swap vision with someone else.  

With this piece, I sought to explore, if we are living in McLuhans Global village, in the noosphere, where we are all extensions of each other in this networked, tethered landscape, what is it like to see through the eyes of someone else?   

If we already live in a collective organism of a convergent Mind through the internet, cybernetics and other technologies, subjectivity as we know it has probably shifted.  what kind of work reflects that? what kind of design reflects that?

When you wear this device and swap vision- you experience this phenomena of disconnected, disembodied sensorial feedback.  If we are indeed an extension of each other shaped by our tools, what happens when those tools sensorially connect you?

If our reality is filtered by cognition, which is in turn shaped by our contextual experiences, I think an object like this will make us take pause and think about this emergence of transubjectivity that we are situated in.

Completed in winter of 2013.

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Networked Sensorium
video glasses, welding masks, HD micro video camera, 7.4V Litium Ion battery, linear dipole receiver
adjustable, approximately 15" x 17" x 12"