This project is a philosophical investigation of shape and color into man's natural state of being, in relation to today's occidental culture of empathy. It's a “metamodern folly” that immerses participants in a “glitch” of the human system.
It's a place for contemplation, meditation and it's a metaphor to why people even empathize in the first place.
What is a Folly? and Redefining "Glitch"
Follies are ludicrous and purposeless structures that don’t match the era in which they exist. Though despite this classical attachment to structure, they tend to closely border with sculpture and both terms may be used to describe the same folly. Moreover, any purposeless object may be a folly. With that said, very few structure based follies are completely purposeless. Apart from their decorative aspect, many originally had a use which was lost later. It’s all about context, or rather the lack of it, which is the underlining principle for what a folly is - a counter. The creator of the folly can give it all the meaning, purpose, story and attention to detail as wished, yet the bottom line is that the random viewer and the unforeseen interacter will subjectively decide upon its purpose.
In 1762, René Louis de Girardin (1735-1808) settled at Ermenonville, France and designed a new garden to illustrate philosophical and social ideas about the place of man in nature by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It was composed to show idealized nature, decorated with symbolic pieces of architecture, such as the Temple of Philosophy (1764-1776), which was left unfinished, to show that the search for knowledge is never complete.
In 'Theaetetus', Plato suggests that knowledge is 'justified true belief'. However, the 'Regress Argument' suggests that any justification itself requires support. Thus, any proposition whatsoever can be endlessly (infinitely) questioned. With that being said, 'Fundamentalism' suggests that some knowledge (i.e. 'human nature') is considered 'basic' and doesn't require justification.
A sudden and temporary malfunction of equipment.
Sliding in and out of momentary altruism.
The collapse of the World Trade Center caused people with a TV to glitch all around the world.
Empathy as a Glitch
Emotional intimacy can be obtained through trying to be aware of, and empathize with the
feelings of another. This other whom the empathy arises towards would most likely be of personal relation, but may also be a singer on the radio, an actor on stage, or even a natural disaster happening on the other side of the world being reported on the news. Therefore emotional intimacy can be obtained with or without a physical correspondent. The most ubiquitous way of emotional intimacy occurring is having a feeling of “being deeply touched” over someone else's pain. Those moments of empathy are filled with devotion and are considered truly human, which suggest a sense of self within the act, but do they? Couldn't those moments truly be altruistic and completely detached from ego; acting as glitches in the code of our human system; acting as a slide into a parallel world where you and I are actually one and the same?
As a momentary slide out of ‘the self’ and into ‘the other’, a 'glitch', creates emotional intimacy. This ‘other’ whom the empathy arises towards, would most likely be of personal relation, but may also be a stranger, a singer on the radio or even a community in distress across the planet. Therefore empathy may arise with or without a physical correspondent. As economist and cultural theorist Jeremy Rifkin said: “Empathy is the opposite of utopia because there is no mortality nor suffering. It’s based on our imperfections, the acknowledgment of death, the celebration of life and routing for each other to flourish and be”.
In the context of the occidental mind-set, a 'glitch' may be seen as empathy, since it's 'basic knowledge' that we're naturally designed to be miserable. However, recent developments in the sciences have revealed that we’re soft wired from birth with mirror neurons for experiencing another’s feeling as if we’re experiencing it ourselves. These developments challenge the earlier assumptions of human nature and suggest that humans’ first desire is to belong, while being naturally social and affectionate.
Most of western society has been shaped over time through the use of narrative; the oldest story to which most westerners relate, is the Garden of Eden. Jewish belief suggests that on the 6th day of creation, the creator created Adam (man in Hebrew) and gave him the Garden of Eden. Filled with creatures and plants living harmoniously with man is his ideal mode (walking around naked). There was no need for survival, there was an abundance of everything; a utopian world without fear, fear of death and the basic need for fear. One day Adam felt lonely (man’s first flaw and basic need), so the creator empathized with him and fulfilled his ‘need to belong’, by creating a woman out of a part of him, a counter-part, Eve. Both continued to ‘misbehave’ by not resisting temptation and breaking the only law instated. Feeling ashamed for the first time, they covered up, hid, lied and were banished to live as humans. By working the land, experiencing pain and suffering from the struggles that come in the bundle deal that we call life, they discovered empathy for the very first time.
This is a fable about being a human among humans in a non-ideal existence, while experiencing the human conditions of curiosity, disobedience, defiance, discomfort... The fable suggests an idealistic utopia, yet directly refers to the uncompleted process of creation. The moral is that all humans are imperfect, faulty-by-design and our western 'human-algorithm' (based on this fable) is set to 'naturally miserable mode'. From a Freudian perspective, we can say that our ‘ego’ is there to protect us from ‘misery’, which arises by an endless chase to please the ‘super-egoistic father-figure’. From an ‘enlightened’ point of view we might as well say that we’re all driven by our materialistic, utilitarian, self-interested, and survivalist desires. In this case, what is empathy? How does it come about naturally? Why do we even experience it?