I had an unexpected little cry at SL17B. I visited some of the exhibits and came upon the “Conversation with a stranger” by FionaFei. I unwittingly entered and took a seat in front of one of the “figures”. This is from the note card you receive at the event to explain :
“Conversation With a Stranger” is an interactive installation as viewers are compelled to reflect on the life of a stranger before judging them. The inspiration for this installation comes from current events, showing that the lack of empathy for other people in the world divides us. It is a microcosm of society, where a stranger who may have passed us on a street could potentially be someone we could connect with, sharing similar interests, background, or values. It is only through conversation and a sharing of words and ideas may we truly know and understand one another.
It also shines a light on the beauty and power of Second Life, where we get to meet people around the world through their avatars. It celebrates the diversity of Second Life and what it does to bring people together. It is my hope that visitors who come into this installation will take the time to sit down with a stranger and discover their personalities and stories.
As you sit you see the figures story rise up and also printed on the front of them. Each figure is exactly the same – a black outline – so no preconceptions can be made or thought of before you read their story. I sat with several of the figures and suddenly out of no where – tears came. I feel its tears for all those I’ve met and failed to “discover”, either because I didn’t ask, didn’t listen , or saw them and had some preconceived notion of what or who they are. I am a chatter, some might call me nosy/curious – but this exhibit really touched me and made me think deeply about my interactions with others. I left knowing that I was a little altered by the experience, a good thing I think.