Art and Science
An example for such a fruitful collaboration is the creation of the eBook “Compassion. Bridging practice and Science”, that was initiated during the workshop “How to train Compassion”at the studio of world-renowned artist Olafur Eliasson in Berlin in July 2011. Scientists, psychotherapists, Buddhist monks, and artists came together to discuss compassion training and its social and political relevance in today’s world. In the end, there was a mutual agreement among all participants about the desire to make this collective knowledge available to the public.
The result was the eBook that not only contains chapters written by the workshop participants but also many videos of the authors, sound collages by Nathalie Singer, and artistic photos by Olafur Eliasson. It was published online for free on 16 September 2013 and was viewed by thousands of people around the world in the very first months. Moreover, a documentary film, commissioned by the Max Planck Institute and produced by Studio Olafur Eliasson, called “Raising Compassion” arose from the multidisciplinary workshop.
“Raising Compassion” brings together a diverse group of neuroscientists, mental health professionals, and Buddhist monks in a remarkable exchange between science, art, and contemplative practice. The protagonists discuss the public perception of compassion, talk about compassion-training programs at various research centers, relate their experiences about working with prisoners and in hospitals, and promote the practical uses of compassion-training in dealing with social and political issues.