David Cotterrell, Professor of Fine Art at the University of Brighton, presents his inaugural lecture:
'Empathy and Risk'
For the past few years, Cotterrell has produced a series of experimental artworks to clarify his experience and understanding of fear, risk and empathetic failure.
He had been feeling uncomfortable with war being described as a political status rather than a state of social disintegration. While accepting that difference of opinion is a pre-requisite for conflict, Cotterrell has been considering how mental and physical barriers may be constructed, long before they're recognised as fortifications. His research seeks to consider the challenges to empathy that occur ahead of the descent into military engagement.
Where protocols are created as a reaction to perceived risk, a situation of distancing occurs – most obviously between the observer and the subject, but also between the perceptions of different observers. This lecture explores contradictory versions of 'truth', the way in which risk can be a catalyst to the creation of partial truths and the possibility of the loss of multiple narratives as communities and individuals are denied access to each others’ vantage points.
In his inaugural lecture Cotterrell will describe the motivation and observations of his ongoing research. At a time of increasing political polarisation, he will discuss an artists’ idiosyncratic search to find languages with which to explore the failure of dialogue.
The lecture will run from 6.30pm-7.30pm and is followed by a canapé reception.