"Empathy and the Digital Space" – Guest lecture by Katharina Gsöllpointner at SCCA Ljubljana

Zoom ID: 892 8599 4839; Passcode: worldofart

Dominik Grünbühel & Charlotta Ruth: Still from Ghost Audience (2020)

Katharina holds a lecture at the School for Curatorial Practices and Critical Writing at SCCA Ljubljana on “Empathy and the Digital Space”, addressing the COVID-19 crisis’ effects on our perception of empathy.

Meeting only in digital rooms anymore we are experiencing a big loss: We suffer from the lack of being close to other bodies ("some body else"). We can't touch, smell, feel, confront, step towards the other person. We can’t look around. We only can see and hear a digital and pixeled image/voice of apparently another individual.

This lack of "certainty" of knowing who we are communicating with (a person/her voice, a picture/voice of a person, or a machine phantasma) might make us even more suspicious and cautious in the confrontation with each other. Since the use of our kinesthetic sense is crucial for perceiving ourselves as social individuals within a spatio-temporal matrix, its neglect in online spaces might lead to a loss of empathic abilities.

Art has been trying to overcome this “void” of the digital other by experimenting with a variety of aesthetic interventions, be it in Augmented or Virtual Reality environments, be it in digital video or online performance projects. In her talk Katharina introduces some artworks and demonstrates how they deal with kinesthetic modality features to enable a more “empathic” environment in digital spaces.

(Lecture had to be postponed from December 2020.)

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