There’s an exhibit where I work called the Mirrorbox. It’s creator calls it an empathy machine of sorts. Basically, how it works is you and a partner stick your heads into this black pea-pod-cocoon-looking thing and stare at each other. When the Mirrorbox is turned on the light inside turn on and begin to cycle in such a way that it blends your faces together. Sometimes it’s half your’s have their’s, sometimes it’s a mix of both, sometimes it’s just you. Through this “experience” you are made to recognize the other’s common humanity essentially. The whole thing is a very intimate experience; being vulnerable in that small space, without saying a word, changes how you think about the other, or other’s in general. It is about as close as you can get to climbing into another person’s skin without being a sci-fi monster.
It’s honestly all feels quite serendipitous that this exhibit is showing up at the museum at the same time that I am reading The Book of Joy, in which one of the primary themes is recognizing one’s own common humanity with the world, at the same time that I will be starting as a Companion Care volunteer, where I will be interacting with and advocating for the homeless and underserved on a regular basis.
I could be reading into it too much, as I do, but I don’t, something just feels really right.