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“empathetic heartbeat” [2010]

ANDO Hideyuki + WATANABE Junji + SATO Masahiko

“empathetic heartbeat”


A video starts playing as soon as a visitor holds a stethoscope to his or her chest. It shows people in a state of tension under various conditions. Watching the images while listening to the sound of their own heartbeat, visitors gradually develop a feeling as if their heartbeat was in fact the heartbeat of the persons in the video.

Body organs are recognized as intrinsic things that belong inseparably to their owner, whereas the heart certainly plays the most important role in terms of life maintenance. As one can understand from the fact that words for “heart” in different languages contain also notions of “sentiment” and “character,” the heart is not only an essential organ for humans as living beings, but it has certainly been understood also as an embodiment of human mental activity.

However, we cannot see or touch our own hearts. Our ideas about the heart are defined indirectly through the pulse we feel when concentrating or stressed, or when measuring our pulse or using a stethoscope.

This work indicates that there exists an ambiguous quality that may be identified as something belonging to someone else, even in something as individual as the beat of one’s heart. On the other hand, it is perhaps that ambiguity that enables us to empathize and harmonize with others.

This work was made for the exhibition “‘The Definition of Self’ directed by Masahiko Sato” at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT.
Film cooperation: Sekiguchidaimachi Elementary School, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Kendo Club, KONDO Daisuke



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