Roger Ebert’s oft-quoted line about how movies are “a machine that generates empathy” will be the topic of a panel discussion at the Cannes Film Festival. “What Does Empathy Look Like On the Big Screen?” will be held at 3pm Sunday, May 17th at the American Pavilion.
Nate Kohn, Vice President of the Peabody Awards and Festival Director of Ebertfest, will serve as the moderator. Fittingly, the panel will be held in the Roger Ebert Conference Room of the Pavilion.
Chaz Ebert, President of The Ebert Company and Publisher of RogerEbert.com will welcome panelists John Sloss of Cinetic Media; Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, and Anne Thompson of Indiewire and Thompson on Hollywood for a free-wheeling conversation about why empathy should be encouraged in the works of emerging writers on film and filmmakers.
Chaz says, "Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is the antidote to the feelings of isolation and insecurity which can result in all kinds of ills in our society. Not only is it good for the bottom line (audiences hunger for films with characters they can relate to, and with themes that touch on hope rather than mere despair and destruction), but it can lead to a change in the conversations about our future."
Stephanie Seguino's exhibition of large-scale color photographs, on view at the Flynndog in Burlington, would be visually powerful even if it weren't so painfully relevant. For "Radical Empathy," she has used her camera like a pickax: to chip away at white Americans' stereotypes of black men. And she has undertaken that task at a time when hostile and fear-laden preconceptions have repeatedly proved lethal — most recently in Baltimore, Md., and before that in Cleveland, Ohio; Ferguson, Mo.; Staten Island, N.Y.; and North Charleston, S.C.
The contrast between summary judgments and actual character forms the core of "Radical Empathy." The title is meant as an appeal for understanding of black men's lives, Seguino says. Achieving such awareness amounts to a radical act, she adds, in that "empathy toward black men is the exception, not the norm."
During this week, 100 years after the birth of Elizabeth Catlett on April 15, 1915, we are reminded of her empathetic spirit, in addition to her monumental body of art and her association with Hampton University. And we are imagining what the example of her selfless spirit implies for contemporary styles of art.
Catlett empathized particularly with oppressed and struggling people and wanted her art to be a healing, motivating and empowering experience for them....
Elizabeth Catlett's empathetic mastery prompts us to consider how contemporary forms of art can be inspiring public experiences, reach people needing special support and impress critics and other art insiders.
I look around me, breathing in deeply as I reflect on the totality of what I see. Before me, a man lays sleeping on a downtown street that jumps with a crisp four/four time Hip-Hop beat, bouncing from an upbeat retreat, where folks hang out, chillaxed to the max as it’s the “Thank God it’s Friday,” day of the week. The man is wrapped up in a tattered army sleeping bag lined with a bed sheet that had long ago given up on the idea of being a sheet and the forecast calls for snow or sleet and a passerby pinches her nose with her forefinger and her thumb, thinking why doesn’t somebody arrest this bum?
You seek a crown of gold And yet the heart is fallow A famine of the soul Unbeknownst and unconcerned The poor hunger for food and shelter And you have an appetite that’s never satiated The many feasts of endless delicacies and wealth Has not spoiled your cravings ...
Sabra Williams, an actor and the Actors' Gang prison program director, explains that once inmates are given the tools and the opportunity to work as a team they develop empathy and start to create healthy relationships.
'People in prisons survive by numbing their emotions, and when people are numb they have no empathy and continue to commit crimes,' she says. One inmate confirms, 'I came here to learn how to control my emotions rather than let my emotions control me.'
Another who has done the course several times explains, 'It puts your head in a different mind-set.'
Interested in exploring the idea of empathy from multiple perspectives, Phelps asked eight playwrights he admires and has worked with to write brief solo pieces on the question, “What does it mean to engage in an act of compassion?”
“Eight is significant to me,” says Phelps. “I had the idea for this show and picked an animal Tarot card around New Year’s—it was an eight, which represents a spider, so the spider is a symbol of creativity and making a web. Compassion is connected to the number eight in Buddhist thinking and practice. And my birthday has eights in it, plus eight is the symbol of infinity, so it’s very significant.”
We easily empathize with characters that are like us, and even more easily with characters that we wish we were like, usually confident, sexy, successful people. Pixar got us to empathize with a mute robot, a rat, monsters and many other unusual suspects. How did they do it?
We also employed a measure known as the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET), which captures the ability to infer what other people are thinking or feeling by looking at their eyes.
The test was developed by British psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues as a tool for studying theory of mind, particularly for people with autism.
It is now widely used by researchers interested in studying theory of mind and empathy for people developing typically, as well as for those with autism.
Researchers using RMET have found that reading literary fiction or engaging in theatrical role-playing enhances people’s ability to read the emotions of others. We suspected that watching live theater might have a similar effect and decided to include RMET in our survey.
The version of RMET we employed was developed for use with adolescents and has 28 photographs cropped to show only people’s eyes. Subjects are asked to pick one of four words that best describes what the photographed person is thinking or feeling.
An article published last year in Science presented evidence that literary fiction makes readers more empathic than popular fiction; that is, it claims LitFic is better for you than mystery, romance, thrillers, or science fiction. Author Ransom Stephens offers a primer to prepare you to participate in Litquake's Does Literature Make You an Empath? event next week...
My aim here isn’t merely to convince you to mark your calendar; it’s to prepare you to participate in Litquake’s Does Literature Make You an Empath? event next Tuesday at the Mechanics’ Institute Library in San Francisco....
Litquake’s Does Literature Make You an Empath? panel is Tuesday, Oct. 14, 6:30pm at the Mechanics’ Institute Library in San Francisco. For more information, visit litquake.org.
Our panel of LitFic and genre authors plus experts on the science of empathy (and you!) will investigate why or whether high-brow lit cranks up empathy more than a good mystery, romance, or space opera. For reservations: (415) 393-0100; email@example.com
Does literature make you an empath?http://www.milibrary.org/milibrary/events/litquake-does-literature-make-you-empath-oct-14-2014 Our panel of fiction and genre authors plus experts on the science of empathy (and you!) will investigate why or whether high-brow lit cranks up empathy more than a good mystery, romance, or space opera. What techniques do writers employ to evoke sympathy or distain? What does neuroscience say about how we “mirror behavior?” Join this provocative discussion!
At a panel hosted by Chaz Ebert, journalists and film industry members shared their thoughts on empathy.
In a room known as the Roger Ebert Conference Center, the American Pavilion at Cannes hosted a panel this afternoon inspired by one of Ebert's most well known statements—that "movies are a machine that generates empathy."
In her introductory remarks, Chaz Ebert noted that when someone begins to talk about empathy, "people think that it's like forcing you to eat broccoli."
But she sees empathy as a more hopeful concept, and noted why empathy is important. "A lot of the ideas that people have, you get from the cinema," she said.
Some of the panelists suggested that empathizing starts with the filmmakers themselves
We may walk away such experiences with heavy hearts, but that’s a small price to pay for empathy. In a world dominated by sound bites, spin and winner-take-all, it’s that vital human connection that sets us apart as a civilized society.
New York-based French artist Antoine Catala claims that "recent studies show that young people communicate more through a screen than face to face" and that "we become overwhelmed and our capacity for empathy gets challenged."
For the exhibition Antoine Catala: Distant Feel, at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Catala has "rebranded" empathy. He posits that empathy is evolving and he seems earnest enough, explaining that he worked with ad agency Droga5 to create a new term and symbol, and to "craft a message to change the world." "Distant feel" is described as "a cool, detached, focused form of empathy," expressible "through the distance of an image."
The reason, Catala says, is that “empathy is too intense or too raw and can become a hindrance rather than a help.” He rebranded this feeling as something called “distant feel.”
“Distant feel is a cool, detached, focused form of empathy,” he says. “It acknowledges that it's paradoxically OK to be distant and encourages us to express our empathy in an effective way.
“Empathy is fundamental to our shared human experience, core to our biology, our evolution, our culture, our society,” he says. “It is the raw, unprocessed emotional connective tissue between people. It is the glue that holds the human race together.”
Conversely, the distant-feel symbol, those mirrored Es, is mutable. It can be drawn, typed or gestured, as in holding three fingers in each hand to make the design.
The Empathy Project is a collaborative, participatory art project initiated by Paul Rucker and Curated by Marcus Civin at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Baltimore. It invites participants to explore their experiences with empathy through visual art, writing, installations, performances etc. Many classes added an assignment for the students in the institute to participate in the project where a wide variety of work was created, from collaborative installations to anonymous written posts. The project itself is a sum of all these parts and serves to celebrate the diversity that exists among any community of people. When i was brought on the team to design the identity and collateral for the project I was faced with a few specific problems that I must try to solve:
Many business people have already discovered the power of storytelling in a practical sense – they have observed how compelling a well-constructed narrative can be. But recent scientific work is putting a much finer point on just how stories change our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
As social creatures, we depend on others for our survival and happiness. A decade ago, my lab discovered that a neurochemical called oxytocin is a key “it’s safe to approach others” signal in the brain. Oxytocin is produced when we are trusted or shown a kindness, and it motivates cooperation with others. It does this by enhancing the sense of empathy, our ability to experience others’ emotions.
Empathy is important for social creatures because it allows us to understand how others are likely to react to a situation, including those with whom we work.
Field trips to live theater enhance literary knowledge, tolerance and empathy among students, according to a study published this week by researchers in the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform.
The research published in Education Next examines the impact on students of attending high-quality theater productions of either Hamlet or A Christmas Carol.
The researchers found that viewing the productions leads to enhanced knowledge of the plot, increased vocabulary, greater tolerance and improved ability to read the emotions of others.
Two years ago, researchers found significant benefits in the form of knowledge, future cultural consumption, tolerance, historical empathy and critical thinking for students assigned by lottery to visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.
The UCLA New Wight Biennial, Compassion Fatigue, will present work from 16 international emerging artists using installation, performance, video, photography and sound to enable intimate ways of viewing political crisis.
Curated by UCLA Department of Art graduate students Damir Avdagic and Abigail Collins.
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