[-empyre-] Virtual Embodiment: week 1

Simon Biggs simon at littlepig.org.uk
Mon Jun 30 22:04:43 EST 2014

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Welcome to the first week of the July discussion on  –empyre- soft-skinned space:

Moderated by Sue Hawksley (UK/AUS) and Simon Biggs (AUS/UK) with invited discussants Susan Kozel (SE), Johannes Birringer (UK), Samantha Gorman (USA), Sophia Lycouris (UK), Tamara Ashley (UK), Garth Paine (USA), Hellen Sky (AUS), Daniel Tercio (PT), Sally Jane Norman (NZ/FR) and Sarah Whatley (UK).

The month's discussion engages themes and issues concerning 'virtual embodiment'. This theme is open to interpretation - suggesting concepts and practices that are situated in the physical, the computational, the imaginative, the metaphysical or all of these spaces, depending on context. Facebook's recent acquisition of Oculus, developers of the consumer level Rift virtual reality headset, promises to make a new virtual experiential space widely available. This raises questions concerning the impact of the virtual when it converges with popular social media. As shared VR experiences becomes pervasive how might social conventions shift and the underpinning notions of selfhood and collective evolve? What might a collective virtual experience contribute to notions of extended or distributed mind, agency or identity? Does virtual embodiment depend on, augment or replace bodily practices? What will the quotidian affects be?

For the first week of the discussion around 'virtual embodiment' we welcome Susan Kozel and Johannes Birringer:

Susan Kozel works at the convergence between dance and a wide range of digital technologies. She combines movement practices such as improvisation and somatics with academic writing in philosophy and phenomenology. Currently she is a Professor at the School of Art and Culture of Malmö University and a researcher with the Medea Collaborative Media Initiative (http://medea.mah.se). She maintains an active artistic practice that directly informs her writing on topics from affect to ubiquitous technologies to electronic music. She teaches for the Interaction Design programme at Malmö University, is Project Leader of the interdisciplinary research project Living Archives (http://livignarchives.mah.se) and is on the advisory board of the Swedish National School for Artistic Research.

Johannes Birringer is a choreographer/media artist and co-director of DAP-Lab at Brunel University where he is a Professor of Performance Technologies in the School of Arts.  DAP-lab (www.brunel.ac.uk/dap) focuses on research in performance, interactive systems and wearable design. He has created numerous dance-theatre works, video installations and digital projects in collaboration with artists in Europe, the Americas, China and Japan. In 2003 he founded Interaktionslabor in a former coal mine in Germany, initiating long-term research into interactive systems and real time processes (http://interaktionslabor.de). His digital oratorio "Corpo, Carne e Espírito" premiered in Brasil at the FIT Theatre Festival in 2008; the interactive dancework "Suna no Onna" was featured at festivals in London and the Lab’s mixed-reality installation "UKIYO" went on European tour in 2010. The dance opera "for the time being [Victory over the Sun]" premered at Sadler's Wells in 2014. He's currently developing various post-productions from the writing of "Performance, Technology & Science," published in early 2009, for a new Meta-Academy (online) seminar project. 

Simon Biggs
simon at littlepig.org.uk  |  @_simonbiggs_ 
http://www.littlepig.org.uk  |  http://amazon.com/author/simonbiggs

simon.biggs at unisa.edu.au  |  Professor of Art, University of South Australia

s.biggs at ed.ac.uk  |  Honorary Professor, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh

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