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empathy machine

runtime: 56mins
touring personnel: 6 
cast size: quintet
*seeking producing/presenting partners

available for touring 2024-2026

empathy machine is slowdanger's 2019 evening length quintet multidisciplinary work. It was created in collaboration with ProjectileObjects LED Light Ring and computational artist Char Stiles. Originally created as a 20min installation work for 16 dancers at Springboard Danse Montreal as a part of the Emerging Choreographers Platform (June 2018)


This work aims to desexualize intimacy and examine empathy as a continual process of sensitizing ourselves to our own bodies, companions, and environment. The work explores intimacy and empathy, questioning societal reflexes surrounding these terms through the use of physicality, responsive technology and awareness facilitations. empathy machine, features a cast of 5 performers and two computational artists. It uses a responsive LED lighting ring that hangs from the ceiling, acting as another performer in the piece, transforming shadow and the performance landscape. empathy machine exists within an imagined future where performers have forgotten their embodied empathy mechanisms and have to go through a process of relearning/remembering. The work explores intimacy and empathy, questioning societal reflexes surrounding these terms. Humans are physically and energetically impacted by their environment and interactions. This is ever-present with the continual enmeshment of technology and the human body in modern society. This enmeshment can further diminish empathy and continues to enable behavior patterns rooted in objectification and over sexualization. empathy machine does not claim to answer society’s problems but proposes a process of coming back into our bodies as resilience and resistance against oppressive systems.

funding for the empathy machine project was provided by the Investing in Professional Artists Grants Program, a partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Special Presenters Initiative, The Opportunity Fund, The Pittsburgh Foundation A W Mellon Grant. With residencies and/or showings at Springboard Danse Montreal, The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, Dance Place, The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the CUNY Graduate Center, the Space Upstairs and the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.

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