Reach out, connect with somebody and #share1moment

The World’s Biggest Eye Contact Experiment: Sheffield

Remember when I wrote about the sharing your humanity with strangers? Well I did just that…

I took my scooter along snakes pass to Sheffield, today (Sunday 4th October 2015). I haven’t really drove around Sheffield before, only gone by train and walked it. So it took me a long time to find somewhere to park and finally head to the Barkers Pool, next to the city hall.

When I got there things were in full flow, with about 8 people sitting on the cushions and 4 others sitting on bbq chairs. I found Frank and noticed Brendan filming with Elizabeth deep in eye contact with somebody.

The World’s Biggest Eye Contact Experiment: Sheffield

After a little chat I dived in to my first eye contact. It was surreal but strangely calming and relaxing. The only reason I had to break it off after about 5mins was because my knees could only take so much. The lady was great and so friendly, she gave me a nice warm hug afterwards, we certainly shared a moment. Her eyes were wonderful and deep. In that time, I thought about the existence of humankind. It was a tiny bit like when I first got out hospital 5 years ago. I think in a quieter place, I could imagine feelings would be higher strung and more intense.

I moved to the chairs and had some eye contact with a older woman, a woman in a electronic wheel chair. and of course Elizabeth (which was odd, as I knew her and see her everyday pretty much).

The World’s Biggest Eye Contact Experiment: Sheffield

By the time I had gone to the toilet in John Lewis and got a  takeaway mocha, things started wrapping up and I got one last eye contact with a red haired woman. She sat close to me and I won’t lie, I felt we could have sat for far longer. Her eyes were blue and quite different from each other. Looking at the density of the strands which make up the iris was so fascinating. Once again I started wondering about humankind and the person I was sitting opposite… if only my knees didn’t hurt once again.

The World’s Biggest Eye Contact Experiment: Sheffield

The whole experience although short was wonderful and the connection  with fellow human being was stronger than I imagined it would be. I highly recommend it to everybody.  I could kind of see why the 36 questions thing could work with the eye contact to finish it off.

Thank you to Frank, Sarah and Liberators International. I’m already thinking about Manchester for the 15th and maybe something at Mozfest to fit with the theme around humanity, citizenship and diversity.

It was a experience I enjoyed and made the trip over to Sheffield well worth the time on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Can’t wait to see the edited video Brendan…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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