compassion: you've got me feeling emotions
Creating a interactive experience to make people feeling compassion and reflect on their behaviors while seeing others in pain.
How do we response to injustice?
In early February 2022, I spoke out to the Xuzhou Chained Woman Incident on my WeChat account and hoped to attract attention to this event from my families and friends, then further help the women in suffer. Surprisingly, some of my close families and friends commenting my post in the attitude of “minding your business” with some sene of normalizing sex trafficking.
At frist, I viewed the attitude as evilness in humanity and started to come up a solution from there. As my research goes on, I realized the sense of ignorance is partially driven from refusal of empathizing because the constantly empathizing pain is a huge burnout to individuals.
Interestedly, I discoverd an alternative of empathy in Buddhism tradition — compassion. Based on my observation and secondary research, I designed a experience where encouraging people intuitively understand the difference between empathy and compassion and introduce people compassion as a better emotion to response with social incidents and hopefully inspire them to make positive changes.
By observing the Chinese Netizens' responses the incidents, I classified their emotions into four categlories:
02｜visualizing the emotions
Based on my secondary research
and observations, I tried to connect their attitudes and intended behaviors with defined emotion and then further visualize the emotions in a graphic language.
For most of the time, people's emotions can not be clearly defined as one or two as categorized above. They weight their abilities and the consequences of actions before feeling emotion and taking actions. Accordingly, I interpret the relationship of the four emotions as four measures on a spectrum.e text inside of a div block.
03｜insights & concerns
Throughout the research process, there are few concerns that we noticed:
Successfully saving the people in suffer
Although compassion is defined as showing a desire and action to help but they does not necessary lead to the success of free people from suffering.
To simplize the experience, we set the standard of feeling compassionate to successfully save people in pain.
Avoid the Format of Multiple Choice Questions
In other words, how can we best perform the emotion spectrum in to a physical experience? We realize leaving a "grey area" and an imperfectness of achieving one or the other are the answers.
Emotion vs. Action | Subjective vs. Objective
People often confuse compassion with empathy. To differentiate empathy and compassion in the experience. we decided to narrow our focus on their perspectives and emphasis.
Empathy is about resonating with other people and experience the emotions in a the first-person perspective. The Buddhism tradition defines compassion as understand the whole situation of people in suffer and want to help.
04 | digital prototype
With the visual elements, design goals and concerns in mind, we started to sketch out the installation and Iterating through out testings and critiques. Ultimately we decided to use a mirror as the interactive media to implement the experience.
After critique in class and testing we find out that the design did not well emphasize the difference between empathy and compassion. By narrowing down our design goals, we started to simplify our design and start rapidly iterating.
05 | iterating & testing on site
06 | final iteration
This project marked a lot of major milestones for me: my first emotion visualization project, my most ambitious interactive project to date, my first time attempt adressing ongoing social issues around me. Through this process, we were able to challenge ourselves to look into the affordances of space and printed mediums, be ambitious with our craft, the uses of emotion as material, as a medium for communication, and as a graphic form to render and manifest feelings in an audience. From branding to art direction, we learn to utilize and manipulate emotion to convey content and imbue meaning to the work, to positive and negative ends.
However, I do realize I might bring in some personal logics that possibly come with flaws. In the future, I would like to explore subjective ways in which contents contributing to our society and individuals can be weaved into user’s personal narratives.