Imaginary Alien

Since ancient times, man has survived by working in groups. This has led us to develop an advanced ability for empathy; we intuitively feel what another person is experiencing and can respond accordingly. In modern research, the human ability to cooperate is highlighted as the single biggest reason for our technological and cultural development. The development of human society and empathy are inseparable from one another.

However, empathy is not without its limits. Outside of our own group different rules apply, and there are many situations in which we lose our compassion. Our instincts tell us that our own group will become weaker if another becomes stronger, and stretching our empathic ability outside of our perceived community requires a conscious effort. From a historical perspective, these groupings are completely arbitrary, and are undergoing constant change. How can we better manage these mechanisms in today’s highly developed society? In hindsight, history has shown us what is at stake when we are imprudent, step by step closing the door on empathy.

Through six concerts and performances with associated in-depth lectures and films, Järna Festival Academy explores the boundaries of empathy and the mechanisms behind how these boundaries are set. The title, Imaginary Alien, aims to illustrate the fleeting nature of the idea of other.