Welcome to the Laboratory
Incredible Witness is a funhouse exercise in phenomenology and the physics of compassion, an interactive and participatory laboratory positing sensory perception as the basis for empathetic connection. The piece asks: how can people ever be “credible witnesses” when even the most basic perceptions, such as color vision or spatial awareness, differ drastically from person to person? We live in a historical period where the traditional binaries are breaking down, and some of the most basic assumptions about social life and hierarchies are falling apart–the formerly mainstream pieties around gender, race, and sexuality are being called into question, and as these structures fall, Incredible Witness asks–what next? How do we encourage this disintegration, and how do we now accept each other fully, beyond the categories?
In the Incredible Witness laboratory, we invite you into unusual perceptual worlds with the aim of bringing home viscerally how different each person’s experience of the world can be. We also want to know about yout own perceptual quirks and realities. Our experimental arsenal will include games, game-based interactive environments, augmented reality, performances, and online and in‐person interviews. We want to encourage people to think carefully about each person’s experience, and question (perceptual) authority. Through this process, we are aiming to side‐step political rhetoric and go straight to the body to nurture empathetic and compassionate consciousness.