Generating Virtual Environments for Playful Touch Interactions: TOUCH TERRAIN

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Session Title:

  • Collaborative Communities

Presentation Title:

  • Generating Virtual Environments for Playful Touch Interactions: TOUCH TERRAIN

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Abstract:

  • This paper discusses Touch Terrain, a collaborative project developing a multi-participant mixed reality performative environment. We are invested in designing and choreographing experiential interfacings, that raise the stakes for the role of corporeality within hybrid domains. In a world and media arts dominated by audiovisual media, we depart from a reversal of the main static sensorial hierarchy of vision and sound, and instrumentalized touch and kinaesthesia, wanting to contribute to a more inclusive approach to immersive interactions. Following from a previous project, Blind Date, we emphasize the role somatic and tactile senses in the construction of an embodied awareness of ourselves, one another, and the world, questioning how are these and all the senses, feelings and awarenesses connected and affecting our general mood. With Touch Terrain we are working on to challenge participants to engage in a playful corporeal immersive experience that raises their awareness by destabilizing their autonomic / automatic sensorial and perceptive interconnections. Enmeshing another technological interface, such as VR glasses, into the naturalized eye-body-world interface, and with it another (simulated) body and environment, we are interested in the information systems’ possibilities to instigate awareness and deeper/joyful experiences of our corporeality, expanding embodied communication in less categorized/techno biased and profit driven modes. Thus, through various computer vision inter-connected interface systems – VR glasses, mocap sensors, data-gloves and webcams – the project is a challenge to address the body and embodiment out of univocally over-sexualized cultures of porno, sports, violence, publicity, and much art appeal. This paper discusses some of the crucial aspects in the ongoing creation of the work. How can we build such inclusive and a playful hybrid physical-virtual-simulated environment, where vision emerges from and reverts to participants’ tactile engagements. How can this investment facilitate (intelligent) inter-subjective embodied experiences, contributing to raise awareness about and change Cartesian and luddite attitudes towards our posthuman condition really amplify the corporal living experience.

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