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Augmented Empathy 2020 Keiken Sakeema Crook Ryan Vautier Photo by Drew Forsyth Installation view at FACT 11

Augmented Empathy

Keiken, Sakeema Crook and Ryan Vautier.

FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L1 4DQ
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Part of the The Living Planet season

As part of The Living Planet, our year-long programme which focuses on the non-human, and deals with themes such as climate change, ecology, and communication, the artist collective Keiken have developed a multi-layered participatory project called Augmented Empathy. Developed as a new collaborative commission with FACT’s Learning team, the artists designed a project which mirrors the way we, and specifically young people, learn through the navigation of social media.

Keiken are a cross-dimensional collaborative practice (Hana Omori, Isabel Ramos and Tanya Cruz), whose practice merges the physical with the digital by building online worlds and augmented realities. In Augmented Empathy, the collective explores the subversion of existing tools -in this case, Instagram filters- and how social media can be used as a space for exchange and artistic creation. The result was 4 Instagram filters which can be downloaded and used by anyone.

Keiken Sakeema Crook and Ryan Vautier All Water is One Water video still of Sakeema Crook 2020 2

From these filters, the collective was joined by Sakeema Crook, and also CGI artist Ryan Vautier who creates animated worlds exploring the fractures between the digital and physical, to develop a series of live performances and this film installation. Crook is an international dance artist whose practice explores world-building, intersectionality and carving progressive realms. Visitors are invited to activate and interact with augmented reality pieces, which extend from Sakeema’s body whilst she speaks and performs a continuation of the speech she gave at the recent Black Lives Matter Protests and Black Trans Lives Matter Protests. This performance spreads Sakeema's message, that through the understanding of intersectionality, we can create a new path for fluidity, love and change.

Together, they have created a speculative world where we can utilise readily available technologies to interact better with one another. The way the collective uses these tools bypasses not only physical limitations of the body itself, but also the boundaries which society imposes upon those bodies. Their work draws upon the power of nature, and uses sounds, images and motions from the natural world to communicate. It reminds us how disconnected we have become from the environment, and the experiences of others - be they human, or non-human. In this space, bodies can be anything, and connect in unimaginable ways, unbound by our expectations or assumptions. Experiencing the world through these filters, and with these digital modifications, allows us to inhabit a space centered around empathy and understanding.

Augmented Empathy is an exercise in unlearning the ways in which we construct identity, and developing a more fluid and generous space of understanding. The technologies used give us the opportunity to make the invisible visible, and to create spaces which are different from those we see and feel in our day to day lives. These digital spaces encourage us to experience things more collectively, even as we are far apart, and bring us face to face with realities we didn’t even know existed.

Please be aware this exhibition contains nudity, and that the filters in the space are designed to alter your appearance- specifically to transform your facial features. These artworks are designed to challenge our understanding of beauty, rather than existing as conventional filters designed to beautify. If this might be distressing for you, we recommend a visit instead to our other exhibition, And Say the Animal Responded?

With thanks to all collaborators: Sakeema Crook, Ryan Vautier and Sarah Blome. Score and Sound design by Khidja, Sound Design by Robert Malone.

Augmented Empathy (2020)

Augmented Empathy is a multi-platform installation created by artist collective Keiken. Developed as a collaborative commission with FACT’s Learning team, the artists designed a project which mirrors the way we, and specifically young people, learn through the navigation of social media.

Ars Electronica


FACT: Ars Electronica Garden Liverpool


Online and Offsite

Ars Electronica Garden x FACT presents four days of performances, conversations and tours about The Living Planet.

Keiken Collective Feel My Metaverse Mind Body and Screen


Live Performance: Augmented Empathy


Step into an augmented world that brings Instagram filters to life. Join us for a special event by artist collective Keiken and dance artist Sakeema Crook that uses augmented reality and your phone to present two live augmented performances.

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