In January, CLBB hosted a panel discussion, “Empathy: The Development and Disintegration of Human Connection,” meant to explore the remarkable capacity of humans to relate to others, what we are learning about how and when this capacity fails, and whether these failures — which can have consequences ranging from therapeutic breaches to unthinkable crimes that defy our understanding — can be rehabilitated.
That last point – whether empathy can be rehabilitated, or taught, is also at the heart of a fascinating melding of art and science that panelist Alice Flaherty recently brought to our attention: The Mirror Box. A contraption designed by artist Megan May Hem Daalder and tried out, in a early form, on the streets of LA, the Mirror Box puts two people face to face, with a semi-transparent mirror between them, giving each an unusual feeling of connection to the other, along with lingering effects often described as “still sharing a face.”
Started in 2010, the project caught the attention of psychologists, neuroscientists, and futurists, who, together with Hem Daalder, began to explore exactly how it works, how empathy differs in different cultures, and how it could be used to improve human relations. Learn more: