Art, Museums, and Sharing Feelings in Public

Much of our conversation about the FeelThat network has focused on private experiences: sitting around feeling this and that with your friends, being alone but connected to another, or private moments shared with students/soldiers/refugees on the other side of the world.

But how FeelThat figures into public experiences is a whole other question.  Player Olivia Martin tapped into this possibility and set off a flurry of builds:

Bubble graph representing conversation sparked by player Olivia Martin's positive imagination card "Art is certainly an emotional experience. What if at art museums you could tap in to how others felt while viewing the exhibits? #hiesglobal"

How true! Art is an emotional experience, and museums are a place to have these emotional experiences is a public (but safe) place.  Have you ever cried in a museum? I know I have.  And not just at the Holocaust Museum, either.  I went to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam a few years back. Even though Wheatfield with Crows (1890) was never my favorite painting visually, standing before it I felt the pain he was in those last few months before he committed suicide.  It was stunning! A small group of us stood before it and wept.

Wheatfield with Crows at Van Gogh Museum

How much more profound would it have been, not just for that painting but for all of his others, to feel echoes of others’ reactions while viewing Vincent’s art?

TonyG and Mr Mike Johnson leapt to the same conclusion, and took it a step further.Two "predict" cards. First card by player Tony G: "A whole new kind of art - seeing something and then feeling what others have felt seeing it before. #3107empathy" Second card by player Mr. Mike Johnson "Or even know what the artist what feeling while creating it!"

In an even more modern vein, I’ve long struggled to experience and then explain why Modern Art buffs love Rothko and Pollack. While their styles could not possibly be more different, they are often hung facing each other.  Curators have explained to me why: they both capture emotional states.  That’s the heart of Abstract Expressionism: capturing a feeling with pure technique.  Rothko does it with color.  Pollack with motion.

Player Kelly V. took this to a beautifully futuristic extreme: what if the artists of 2026 were sculptors in pure emotion, and how that intersected with visual focus and even movement!

Positive imagination card by player Kelly V.: "Artists would "paint" and "sculpt" with emotion, changing how you feel as you look at diff parts of an image or move through space."

What an absolutely beautiful card.  Well played!  Face the Future community: where else do you think feeling in public together could help us shape the future? What dangers might it present?