Agora : Eye Contact Barcelona | Reportage
Launched in 2015 by a dozen of Australians previously known as "the liberators", "the biggest eye contact experiment" proposes to fight against the loss of human connexion, through simple meetings where people are invited to "share one minute" with a stranger by looking at another in the eyes.
It's not new that big cities and post-modern ways of life have annihilated the most common connexions between people : we don't talk to each other anymore, barely look at our neighbors, when we're not squarely frightened by each others.
Modest and simple, the experiment starts from these realities, and hopes it can change our relationship to others, or at least the way we see them, in our daily lives.
As far as it already took place in more than 160 cities across the world, I guess we can call it a success.
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I first covered the event in Paris in 2015, finding the initiative simply beautiful and smart - and saying something in itself about today's society. I was amazed by the intensity of the moment : a minute without talking while looking into a stranger's eyes actually does constitute an "experiment".
This report shows the Barcelona's "Eye Contact" that took place in october 2016. At the end of the meeting, unlike in Paris the year before, a lot of people decided to go back on the plaça del Sol to continue the experiment, and sit in silence to look at a new stranger in the eyes...
I called the series "Agora" because the experiment takes place on public plazas or squares : these public spaces are full of restaurants, stores or bars in our cities, that is to say, of public places where we pay to meet or buy. They are also often landmarks of public transportation, thus rhyming with practical meeting points, but also with crowded, uncomfortable and anonymous thoroughfare for big-cities dwellers.
"Agora" is originally the ancient greek name of these public places, where people would meet to discuss local problems - it's the social, political and commercial space of the "city "...