Giangiacomo Rocco di Torrepadula (born in Naples, 1966) is an artist whose work focuses mainly on the themes of prejudice and hatred, in particular concerning race.
Before becoming an artist, Giangiacomo was a serial startupper in the digital health space. He lived in San Francisco for several years, where he was able to see from the inside some of the most well-known cases that animated the BlackLivesMatter movement.
It was a shocking experience that led him to start investigating these issues, not only from a sociological/historical point of view but also with the support of the new cognitive neurosciences, which he used to explore the mechanisms which can lead stereotypes and prejudices(1) to even turn into hate crimes(2).
Aware of how much a lack of empathy is the key problem in all "ingroup-outgroup" relationships, the author's goal is to raise awareness about the problem by arousing interest in it(3).
(1) It takes 100 milliseconds of exposure to a colored face (not enough time to consciously notice the image) to activate the most emotional part of our brain (the amygdala). See Robert Sapolsky - "Behave" ed Vintage 2017 p.85
Fiske-Taylor provide a review of studies demonstrating the involvement of the emotional part of the brain in racial prejudice - "Social Cognition " - ed Apogeo 2009. pp 378.
(2) Hate is intended in its scientific definition as "the desire to remove a whole group because of an actual or perceived clash of worldview (called intergroup hate)" - Matthew Williams, "The Science of Hate" ed. FF 2021 p.17.
(3) The lack of empathy - defined as the ability to identify the emotions and suffering of others - is one of the main causes of dehumanization, which leads to racism. The empathy can be increased by being taught (hence making culture). There are several studies about this. Among others, see "Improving intergroup relations: the effect of empathy on racial attitudes", Walter G. Stephan and Krystina Finlay in Journal of Social Issues, vol 55, n.4 1999 p729-743. The study also highlight how intergroup empathy may improve by better explaining to people in opposite groups the reciprocal suffering.