Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Empathetic Reformulator

The Empathetic Reformulator was invented as part of a workshop led by Federico Joselevich from Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The workshop was called “A Step Through Los Aparatos,” which involved the combination of art, technology and creative expression. Our team developed a concept built on an interpretation of “Getting the Monkeys Off our Backs.” This familiar metaphor led to an idea to physically represent our negative moods as “Monkeys” … little monkeys laser cut out of wood … strung around our necks with a braided cord … an expression of  ourselves.  The Empathetic Reformulator is a device to facilitate the activity of bringing together small groups of people, each with six monkeys on a necklace, and each labeled with a word or two related to a specific anxiety or concern.  The Empathetic Reformulator is a tool for structured counseling whereby the group shares their concerns by removing the little monkeys from their necklace, and then placing the monkeys on the Empathetic Reformulator by turn. The Reformulator is constructed of a trash can supporting a household fan, which is able to chop up the monkeys, much like a paper shredder.  In the first round of sharing, the group simply shares and empathizes  their concerns and anxieties.  After all the monkeys are placed onto the Reformulator, a second round of discussion ensues to encourage empathetic interaction.  The group then shares remarks about their individual concerns, and may discusses common concerns.  Solutions and insights  dealing with these concerns may also be discussed.  At the end of the second round, the group can choose to have their monkeys placed into the Reformulator and be destroyed, or they can discern that the “monkeys” remain real to them, and then the monkeys are returned to their necklaces to represent unresolved concerns.  Our Empathetic Reformulator is a construct for addressing our fears and worries, sharing with each other, and helping each other find resolution to deep-rooted issues. Watch cool video!
Empathetic Reformulator