Artists-researchers Lancel/Maat develop ‘Shared Senses’, an aesthetic approach to empathic and intimate connections in public space of merging realities. In face-to-face connections, empathy and intimacy emerge from embodied self-disclosure, mirroring and shared responsibility, while sharing processes of reflection and sense-making. Currently, such processes are increasingly technologically mediated, measured and datafied, serving AI purposes of predictability, automation, direction and control, shaping our behavior and experience. ‘Shared Senses’ critically responds with an innovative Aesthetic approach to AI empathy, a ‘Trust System’. It is based on public dialogue and imagination, vital to experience of intimacy, empathy and trust.

This aesthetic approach proposes innovative, poetic Meeting Places and Meeting Rituals for public space:
1) All people present in public space perform, experience and witness intimate connections of social touch (such as of kissing, caressing). Simultaneously, they co-create, interpret and play with spontaneous datafication, emerging from biofeedback sensors and shared neuro-feedback systems. 2) The aesthetic design disrupts familiar relations of control and predictability to evoke ambiguous perception, fundamental to reflection. New relations are created between seeing, hearing, touching; unfamiliar exposure of embodied vulnerability; and unpredictable data. 3) A host guides participants and invites them to feel, explore and make sense in this hybrid intimate social touch process.

'In science, digital data represents things. In art, digital data points at itself.'

About Data mystification and Data validation.
Shared Senses orchestrates poetic ‘Reflexive DataScapes’. These are active spaces for dialogue, reclaiming agency for public data-interpretation of intimacy and empathy. Instead of using representing digital data for (non-)human control, they propose a mode of living with data and as 'Co-Actors’, in bio(techno)logical (non-)human entanglement. Audience is invited to reflect on their personal data-traces and appropriate manifold connections, through fueling it with memory and imagination, as a form of shared story-telling about feeling intimate in merging realities. In these poetic environments, participants co-interpret their shared data traces and patterns often as 'intimate portraits'. Their emerging data feedback has shown to evoke tender, strange, unfamiliar (non-)human relations and emphatic processes. For participants' experiences, see the Artists Texts.

In short, Lancel/Maat call for an innovative aesthetic AI approach to experience of intimate and empathic connections, in public space of merging relations. This aesthetic approach disrupts current technologically mediated familiar, predictable, efficient control relations. It proposes public meeting-rituals, orchestrating 1) exposed vulnerable social-sensory performativity in shared responsibility and care, including intimate touch; 2) realtime emerging datafication of the touch performativity; 3) hosting shared reflection and personal interpretation of performativity, datafication and environment, in on site dynamic processes of sense-making through dialogue, mirroring and attunement.