Empathy Revisited: Designs for more than one
October 15 - November 15, 2020
Pera Museum hosted the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial, organized by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV). For the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial, organised with the support of Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism and under the sponsorship of VitrA, curator Mariana Pestana teamed up with Sumitra Upham (Curator of Programmes) and Billie Muraben (Assistant Curator & Deputy Editor).
Today, we understand empathy to be a way of connecting with other people. But empathy’s original meaning encompassed the transference of feelings into objects and the natural world. The 5th Istanbul Design Biennial took empathy back to its roots to explore how design might equip us to feel into territories, landscapes, microorganisms, other species, and also one another.
With the aim of carving out a space of responsibility and developing a culture of attachment towards the more-than-human, this Biennial put forward a proposition: designs for more than one. Working collaboratively with designers, artists, architects, activists and thinkers, the biennial explored designs for multiple bodies, dimensions, and perspectives. The projects that the biennial presented encourage us to rethink practices of care and civility at this critical moment in time, and to collectively build new systems and structures for re-connecting.
Pera Museum hosted a part of the biennial’s generative programme comprising three main axes: two projects from the series of interventions titled New Civic Rituals, and a video series titled Critical Cooking Show. Kyriaki Goni’s Networks of Trust and the design studio The Rodina’s Map of Empathic Society could be experienced on the collection floors as part of the series of interventions titled New Civic Rituals. A parallel film program titled Empathy Sessions could be watched at the auditorium.