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Lessons from the Institute of Empathy

Mar 31 2018–ongoing

Seattle Art Museum

Three Empathics have moved into Seattle Art Museum and are a central feature to the latest installation imagined in our African art galleries. The popular and immersive ChimaTEK: Virtual Chimeric Space by contemporary artist Saya Woolfalk was first shown in Disguise: Masks and Global African Art (2015). Now part of SAM’s permanent collection and installed in Lessons from the Institute of Empathy, the Empathics have surrounded themselves with works from our African art collection as a way to help visitors awaken their own empathy.

Upon entering you will experience a virtual space where you can step outside your normal, routine self and improve your ability to understand others. If you wonder about your empathic abilities, you are not alone. Empathy—the ability to understand the experiences of others—is a skill that’s said to have eroded in the modern world. The result is Empathy Deficit Disorder (EDD).

The Empathics display their trademarked process for transformation and ask you to consider the other artwork around you.

Image: Installation view of Lessons from the Institute of Empathy at Seattle Art Museum, 2018, © Seattle Art Museum, photo: Nathaniel Willson.

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