Sandra Kosorotova & Erik Martinson
Hand-printed texts on fabric strips, online bibliography
Online platform presented by Kim? Contemporary Art Center in Riga, Tallinn Art Hall and Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, and supported by the Baltic Culture Fund
Curated by Kaspars Groševs, Virginija Januškevičiūtė and Siim Preiman
In ‘The Empathy Exams’ author Leslie Jamison reflects upon her experience as an actor playing a patient for medical professionals-in-training. Working from a script she performs the ailments corresponding to her character’s backstory, cryptically conveying her symptoms. It is up to the student examiners to make a diagnosis, and to provide care with special attention paid to “checklist item 31—voiced empathy.” Parallel to this acting scenario, Jamison recounts her experiences as an actual patient in the medical system: the times when she felt empathy as well as the times when it was lacking.
How can we train ourselves to feel what others feel? How might we (re)consider empathy toward the more-than-human world? What exams can we conduct ourselves? What interspecies gestures are we capable of making?
‘Suggested for You’ is a project by Sandra Kosorotova and Erik Martinson that seeks to broaden our collective capacity for empathy toward plants/fungi in particular. Participants are invited to sign up to receive a free hand-printed text on a strip of (non-violent) silk posted to their address. The texts are unknown to the receiver beforehand, and are intended as informal prompts, or analog algorithmic suggestions for personal reflection/action. In the spirit of zero waste, the fabric strips are sourced from offcuts, and Sandra’s techniques of plant-based textile dyeing are implemented. There are many potential uses for the text/fabric strips, ranging from bookmarks to wall hangings to charms for plants (they can be left outside as they will eventually biodegrade). The text/fabric strips will be released in three waves; participants are encouraged to visit the website after each wave to read all of the texts sent out to other recipients. A growing record/bibliography of research will accrue slowly.