- 13:00 GMT - 14:00 GMT
- Dr. Daniel Landau
- Session 3
BECOMING OTHER: Virtual Embodiment, blurring the Self-Other Binary
The research presented in this talk explores the impact that virtual reality and virtual embodiment technologies have on the distinction between ‘self and other’.
Do VR and virtual embodiment have the capacity to reevaluate this gap, blurring this binary?
The work presented here aims to evaluate these technologies in the ever-evolving relationship between technology and the self. From Narcissus’s pond, through reflective surfaces and mirrors, to current day selfies, the concepts of the self, body image, and self-awareness have been strongly influenced by the human interaction with imaging technologies. In fact, one could argue that the evolution of imaging, sensing, and computational technologies has played a central role in the evolution of the self as a construct. Between the mental process of body image and how we think we appear to others, imaging technologies such as mirrors, photos and videos can be considered as a new “external eye” – providing humans the perspective of seeing themselves from the outside.
My talk explores various VR methods of placing participants “in others’ shoes”, with the goal of finding out to what extent the self-other gap can be blurred. This investigation is contextualized in the emerging field of ‘Techno-self’, exploring the complex relationship between Technology and the Self.
- 14:00 GMT - 15:00 GMT
- Professor Sarah Kenderdine
- Session 3
Inhabited information spaces: a landscapes for the senses
This presentation explores the work of EPFL’s Laboratory for Experimental Museology, a transdisciplinary initiative at the intersection of imaging technologies, immersive visualisation, visual analytics and digital aesthetics. eM+ engages in research from scientific, artistic and humanistic perspectives and promotes a post-cinematic multisensory engagement using experimental platforms.
Our research explores the ways in which mechanistic descriptions of database logic can be replaced and computation can become ‘experiential, spatial and materialized; embedded and embodied’. It was at the birth of the Information Age in the 1950s that the prominent designer Gyorgy Kepes of MIT said “information abundance” should be a “landscapes of the senses” that organizes both perception and practice.
“This ‘felt order’ he said should be “a source of beauty, data transformed from its measured quantities and recreated as sensed forms exhibiting properties of harmony, rhythm and proportion.
- 15:00 GMT - 16:00 GMT
- Professor Pia Tikka
- Session 3
Enactive virtuality as the common playground of cinema and game narratives
Back in 2010 when I suggested to a roomfull of game students that the relationship between cinema and games could be bidirectionally fruitful, I had to hide from the rotten tomatoes behind the podium. Indeed, cinema and videogames have a long history of mutual love and hate.
My talk, however, is not about this battle, but about what is in common. Specifically, I suggest that both can be regarded as mental simulations of the world. I will adopt a cognitive science angle, talking about the sense-making of the idiosyncratic mind, reflected through the enactive mind theory of Francisco Varela and colleagues. The mind is active in the world in an embodied and situated manner, in this sense the mind enacts virtually, or simulates the world's dynamic phenomena it wants to understand. Drawing from the combination of phenomenological inquiry and scientific evidence, I will argue that narratives are the mind’s essential means of sense-making. This applies equally for games and cinema. This leads further to interpreting the communicative role of narratives as an extension of that sense-making function to the social world. Systemicity is at the core of my enactive virtuality approach. Be it cinema, video games, books, or social media newsfeed, they can be considered as bio-cultural feedback systems continuously mediating between the idiosyncratic minds and the intersubjectively shared worlds. In this endeavour, cinema and games provide a wide range of examples for my arguments.
Towards the end of the talk, I hope to engage the audience to the discussion of whether stories told, worlds imagined, and enacted upon, can empower social change for the wellbeing beyond entertainment.
- 16:00 GMT - 17:00 GMT
- David Parisi
- Session 3
Toward a Haptic Extended Reality?
Haptics technologies—technologies that capture, store, transmit, and reconstruct touch sensations—have long been promised as a possible means of restoring touch to virtual experiences, as a means of countering and supplementing the audiovisuality of computer-generated and computationally enhanced worlds. Up to this point, despite a research and development tradition that stretches back at least to the 1960s, these technologies have fallen short of meeting the lofty promises made for them.
Against this backdrop, I explore ‘the dream of haptics’: the humanistic, liberatory, transformative, deterministic, and utopian hopes repeatedly mobilized around haptics technologies that situate them as a means of reconnecting to and rediscovering a lost mode of experience.
I am interested in understanding the present cultural status of haptics technologies through an exploration of their victories and setbacks: where have haptics technologies succeeded—and why?
Where and how have they fallen short?
And, in looking to the future, what potential—if any—does this new generation of just-on-the-horizon haptics devices for XR have to finally realize this dream of haptics?
How might the integration of haptics into XR interfaces alter and transform our digitally mediated posthuman sensorium?
- 17:00 GMT - 18:00 GMT
- Andres Leon-Geyer
- Session 3
Building realities. How we learned to engineer worlds in our own image and likeness - and got fond of it
Building realities. How we learned to engineer worlds in our own image and likeness – and became fond of it
In recent years, we witness the rise to a new industry: that of Extended Reality (XR).
Encompassing diverse forms of immersive, alternate and expanded realities, this industry has become broadly accessible to consumers and producers and has made its presence increasingly felt in everyday life.
The means of construction of XR are accessible to the man on the street, granted both by cheaper hardware (as our smartphones) and software easier for non-specialized users (such as augmented reality for social media and WebXR). This has dissolved, as has happened in other technological fields, the boundaries between user and developer.
As a result, a requirement already present in the gaming world is crystallized: as users, we no longer aspire to only co-author the information about the world, we demand agency in the construction of the world itself, or rather the worlds in which this information inhabits. Faced with these possibilities integrated into our daily lives, we ask ourselves: has extended reality extended not just our use of the word reality but also its meaning? Extended reality may imply a new phase in our understanding of reality, and by extension, of information. We may also wonder if this affects the notion of media itself, since its primary function would no longer be to communicate information, but to build it. It is said that the media we use defines the boundaries of the world we perceive, but it seems that our role in this world shaping process has become less passive. Whether the notions themselves are really changing is uncertain, but the rules of the game have undeniably changed.
The main focus of the conference will be the increase of access to the creation of worlds in XR in certain everyday contexts, in order to identify a feeling of power which grows in the non-specialized end user, and the possible cultural implications. Based on the study and observation of cultural trends as well as on conversations with XR actors, this research seeks to observe and understand some of these implications in diverse fields and concepts.