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Sophia Brueckner Featured in Shaker Traditions: Contemporary Translations

August 12, 2015

Stamps assistant professor Sophia Brueckner’s work is featured in Shaker Traditions: Contemporary Translations, opening August 15 at Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, New Hampshire.

The exhibition opens August 15 as part of the special event Village Rising and will run through December 12, 2015. The show features a collection of contemporary translations of Shaker traditions, values, images and art forms by professional artists and creative citizens. “In many ways, the Shakers were the first to take their traditions and to translate them for contemporary living. Over their 200 years at Canterbury Village, they adopted new technologies and through their innovations were often at the leading edge of change,” noted Funi Burdick, Executive Director and Exhibit Curator. “However, new technologies were embraced with a mindfulness and intentionality that meant they simplified, rather than complicated, their lives. Interestingly, many of the modern day works featured in this year’s installation of Shaker Traditions: Contemporary Translations speak to the need for simplicity and connection.”

The exhibition features Brueckner’s Empathy Box and Empathy Amulet, networked devices that directly address these needs:

To explore these ideas, I designed and built two functional devices: the Empathy Box, a tabletop appliance inspired by “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick; and the Empathy Amulet, a wearable version of the aforementioned appliance. Both devices use shared physical warmth as a way to cultivate empathy and a novel sense of connection with anonymous others. The devices encourage their users to make a deliberate and generous choice to invest their time and energy in connection with strangers, and they incorporate reciprocity into their design, such that helping oneself means helping other people. The Empathy Box explores synchronous connection, while the Empathy Amulet uses asynchronous connection allowing the user experience the shared warmth either consciously or unconsciously.

Shaker Traditions: Contemporary Translations
August 15 - December 12, 2015
Canterbury Shaker Village
Canterbury, New Hampshire