BY: Maryam Al-Homaid

Personified

Abstract

"Objects with personalities that illustrate applied empathy as a mechanism to document Qatar’s changing phenomena".

In the past, a user’s interaction with objects was usually limited to a core function. Whereas today, there is a trend toward objects that can offer multi-layered experiences with the potential to not only serve a core function, but to communicate information and emotion. These interactions offer a give-and-take relationship between the user and the object, with the potential for characteristics, individualistic features, and even personalities to appear. Interactions with such objects provide the potential for empathic relationships to form between human and object. Empathy becomes the bond that gives a user the opportunity to view the world from the object’s perspective. It can create a sense of connection beyond the objects functional expectations, and provides the potential for a more meaningful exchange.

In my research, I speculate that empathy can be used as a powerful tool of communication. I offer possibilities on how this tool might be used to learn a skill, to recall a memory or to show an accomplishment. Applied empathy in my research is illustrated through a series of experiments and proposals that demonstrate mechanisms to document today’s changing phenomena in Qatar through the creation of objects.

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