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reyesj [at] seattleu [dot] edu

© 2018 by Juan Carlos Reyes

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ARTIST STATEMENT

Empathy underlies all this fiction, my fiction, my make-believe worlds. How to build empathy, what makes it, can you lose it. To explore why it sometimes takes a tragedy to understand one, why it takes a victim to understand what a victim is. The process to empathy is messy. We judge before we understand, we condemn before we know, we say we know before we actually know. And then we're made to see what's happened, what's really gone on, what went on and what's going on. And maybe we become better fools for finally sitting to listen, stopping to figure it all out. I hope so. At least the emotional information makes us informed fools, heartfelt fools, self-aware fools. Maybe the process to empathy involves an awe of the silence that follows being blindsided by the depth of somebody else's pain. Maybe because because it looks so much like our own scars and cuts when we see, finally see, the different colors that illustrate somebody else's map of wounds. All their jagged topology. All depths of hurt, of somebody else's experience, of moments they probably want to forget but can't and which know we want to forget and will try to. And perhaps we'll believe that trying to forget is all we need to erase what we've seen and how we've heard it. And if we succeed, we maybe cut a piece of ourselves off. The feeling piece, the many feeling pieces. So hopefully the goal is to fail at forgetting. To fail miserably so that instead of shedding garment we pick some up. We put on somebody else's clothes. We put on their shoes.

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