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Performance using new media technologies often brings the performer into direct encounter with their virtual ‘other’, perhaps in the form of a projected image or a gaming avatar. What does this do to the performer’s understanding of their performance presence and kinaesthetic experience?
This paper and PhD research addresses the relationship between physical and virtual bodies as they are experienced by the performer. It draws upon Heidegger’s modelling of the hammer as the extension of the carpenter’s body, considering the virtual image as the extension of the performer’s body and ability to act in the world. I will build on common experiences identified in gaming culture such as the use of deictic markers to refer to a character (‘I’) and a kinaesthetic response to the shots fired at an avatar, and explore the nature of embodiment in a virtual body to explore key themes of agency, ownership and egocentric spatial representation.
Current research of the subject concerns challenging the myth of disembodiment in technology, fuelled by Cartesian dualism. I will go beyond this to examine more directly the experiential and philosophical nature of the embodiment of a virtual body, the factors which affect this and the effect that this has on the performer and/or audience member’s experience. It goes beyond questions of self and identity and impacts on our understanding of both our embodiment of technology and embodiment in everyday life.
This research crosses many fields including performance, philosophy and technology