[-empyre-] Immersion

Sergio Basbaum sbasbaum at gmail.com
Tue Oct 20 03:12:01 AEDT 2015

Hello Gordon, Patrick and empyreans,

Thank you for once again puting good food for tought in the empyre list.
This is a fascinating debate. It adresses some topics I've been into for
years, so I couldn't resist posting.

In the last years I've been involved in a lot of discussions about games
and virtual-reality environments here in Brazil. Some of these concerned
master dissertations in which I was the supervisor, some of them written by
particularly talented students. In his work about "Virtual reality and the
experience of space" (2010), Lucas Meneguette (who is now finishing a Phd
thesis about sound identity in games, also under my supervision) and I
crafted a particularly interesting definition of "immersion", with a
certain Phenomenology style. The work siped in Merleau-Ponty's
Phenomenology of Perception, but also explored the concept of "enactive
perception", with some Maturana and Varela's influences and other sources,
as also as many references on works about virtual-reality.

I've been exploring the limits of this definition in class in the last
years, and I thought it would be interesting to share it here, given that
the concept of immersion has been brought to the center of the arena. I
find it particularly synthetic and productive:



It's the condition of performing in a circumstance which may be or may not
be defined as a set of representations, in such a way that all agent's
behaviors are motivated by interactions with things constituted in such
circumstance's horizon. (Basbaum, apud Meneguette, 2010: 101). It is
important to notice that there's not such a condition of immersion fully
defined by a set of representations, as much as there's no immersion which
is free from representations (that is: just defined just by presences):
these are theoretical limits.


The consequences of this definition are wide. About the concept of
"representation", I've been exploring, through the year, an idea that I
read in an Andrew Wheeler's article, in which he distiguishes "presence"
and "representation" in a way I found wise and clarifying.

I hope you may enjoy it, and I hope to contribute to the discussion.

good vibes from Brazil

On Sat, Oct 17, 2015 at 9:15 AM, Gordon Calleja <gordon.calleja at um.edu.mt>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thanks Patrick.  The reason for going down the path of proposing my own
> term - which is always a risky move, especially in an emerging field
> littered with new concepts vying for attention - was that existing terms
> that referred to the same experiential phenomenon (the sense of inhabiting
> a virtual space) , presence and immersion, were based on what I felt were
> shaky theoretical foundations.  Aside from the vagueness that immersion has
> accrued over time in game studies and related fields, both it and presence
> assume a here and there relationship, a portal through which one goes
> through to leave the real/physical/everyday behind and enter into the
> virtual other-world.  This binary is problematic as a foundational
> perspective of the experience of virtual environments as it flies against
> several schools of thought on consciousness and being.  It obviously stems
> from viewing the virtual space as bounded rather than continuous with the
> everyday world.
> Incorporation side-steps that problematic perspective and instead
> conceptualises the experience of virtual environments as an absorption into
> consciousness - as a "bringing here" rather than "going there" - while also
> requiring an awareness that the user has a systemically upheld embodiment
> in the virtual world.  These dual requirements - the absorption into
> consciousness and systemically upheld embodiment - make it more restrictive
> in application.  The latter is a good thing, in my mind, as too often
> experiential or other ephemeral phenomena become understood too vaguely due
> to their overly elastic conceptualisation.
> Gordon
> On 14 October 2015 at 17:58, Patrick Keilty <p.keilty at utoronto.ca> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Gordon, I would love to hear more about incorporation, as a space that
>> affords an expression of agency within a cybernetic circuit. Meanwhile, I
>> am dashing to the library to grab your book to read more about it!
>> Patrick Keilty
>> Assistant Professor
>> Faculty of Information
>> Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies
>> University of Toronto
>> http://www.patrickkeilty.com/
>> On Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 6:43 PM, Gordon Calleja <gordon.calleja at um.edu.mt
>> > wrote:
>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>> Hi all and thanks to Patrick for inviting me to join the discussion
>>> here.  I have been researching and writing about games within Game Studies
>>> for over a decade now, so the perspectives I offer here will be marinated
>>> in ludic sauce.  The bulk of my game research has tackled the experiential
>>> side of games.  I have been particularly interested in analyzing the nature
>>> of player experience and have aimed to contribute both a more nuanced
>>> understanding and talking about player experience as well as offering an
>>> alternative way of thinking about the fuzzy concept of immersion.
>>> Immersion is problematic because it tends to roll all forms of
>>> involvement with interactive media, especially forms of virtual
>>> environments, into one type of experience, at times plotted on a continuum
>>> of intensity but seldom acknowledging the variety of experiential forms
>>> that come into play when dealing with complex media artefacts such as
>>> games.  So immersion is used to signify general absorption with a game or
>>> virtual environment, as well as the sense of being in the simulated
>>> environment, at times referred to as “presence”.
>>> The second problem arises when we consider the latter experiential form:
>>> the sense of inhabiting the virtual environment.  The real and the virtual
>>> are plotted, erroneously, on two sides of a divide with the metaphors of
>>> immersion and presence implying a move from one realm to another.
>>> My research, contained in *In-Game: From Immersion to Incorporation *(apologies
>>> for the shameless plug), argues that the first problem requires a better
>>> understanding of the various dimensions of involvement in virtual
>>> environments and games, along with an appreciation of the difference
>>> between attention, involvement/engagement and presence/immersion as
>>> different layers of cognition and experience.
>>> The second problem argues for conceptualising immersion and presence not
>>> as a dive into the *virtual other*, but an absorption into
>>> consciousness of the virtual environment, what I have called
>>> *incorporation*, as a space that affords an expression of agency within
>>> a cybernetic circuit.
>>> --
>>> Gordon Calleja
>>> Associate Professor and Director
>>> Institute of Digital Games
>>> University of Malta
>>> Malta
>>> Associate Professor
>>> Center for Games Research
>>> IT-University of Copenhagen
>>> Denmark.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
> --
> Gordon Calleja
> Associate Professor and Director
> Institute of Digital Games
> University of Malta
> Malta
> Associate Professor
> Center for Games Research
> IT-University of Copenhagen
> Denmark.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

-- Prof. Dr. Sérgio Roclaw Basbaum
-- Pós-Graduação Tec.da Inteligência e Design Digital - TIDD (PUC-SP)

-- www.sergiobasbaum.net
-- http://soundcloud.com/sergiobasbaum
-- http://soundcloud.com/pantharei <https://soundcloud.com/pantharei>
...sai dessa fila, vem pra roda festejar..
-- http://blogpantharei.blogspot.com.br/
-- pantharei_tube <https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXlPdYtxV5bj5uAQwXC-M_Q>
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