Hy­per­p­re­sent Avatars


Session Title:

  • An Alembic of Transformation: Virtual Reality as Agent of Change

Presentation Title:

  • Hy­per­p­re­sent Avatars



  • Panel: An Alembic of Transformation: Virtual Reality as Agent of Change

    This paper will dis­cuss two stu­dent pro­jects, which were de­vel­oped dur­ing a hy­brid course be­tween art/de­sign and com­puter sci­ences at Sa­banci Uni­ver­sity; both of which in­volve the cre­ation of three di­men­sion­ally em­bod­ied avatars whose vi­sual at­trib­utes are de­ter­mined by data feeds from “Real Life” sources.

    In as early as 1999 Frank Biocca’s asked sev­eral ques­tions on how the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the body in vir­tual en­vi­ron­ments might af­fect the mind states of avatar han­dlers: The ef­fects of em­bod­i­ment on the sen­sa­tion of phys­i­cal pres­ence, so­cial pres­ence, and self pres­ence in vir­tual en­vi­ron­ments; and the ef­fects of avatar rep­re­sen­ta­tion on body image and body schema dis­tor­tions. Today, with the wide spread usage of three di­men­sional on­line vir­tual worlds and the ex­tended abil­i­ties to ma­nip­u­late the vi­sual rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the inner per­sona, Biocca’s ques­tions would ap­pear to have ac­quired even greater ur­gency. While such ef­forts usu­ally seem to be ex­pected to work to­wards the con­ceal­ment of iden­tity and/or inner states of being; can a sec­ond ap­proach, one in­volv­ing rev­e­la­tions of the inner ‘self’ that may in fact go be­yond what is avail­able to our phys­i­cal bod­ies also be con­tem­plated? Can such ‘rev­e­la­tions’ bring about change, both in terms of human in­ter­ac­tion but also in terms of self-per­cep­tion?

    Fol­low­ing up from Biocca’s sem­i­nal text, The Cy­borg’s Dilemma (Biocca, 1999), this paper will de­scribe the cre­ative and tech­no­log­i­cal processes which went into the ma­te­ri­al­iza­tion of these two avatars.

    Elif Ayiter is a de­signer and re­searcher spe­cial­iz­ing in the de­vel­op­ment of hy­brid ed­u­ca­tional method­olo­gies be­tween art & de­sign and com­puter sci­ence, teach­ing full time at Sa­banci Uni­ver­sity, Is­tan­bul, Turkey. She has pre­sented cre­ative as well as re­search out­put at con­fer­ences in­clud­ing Sig­graph, Con­scious­ness Re­framed, Cre­ativ­ity and Cog­ni­tion, ISEA, ICALT, Com­pu­ta­tional Aes­thet­ics (Eu­ro­graph­ics) and Cy­ber­worlds. She is also the chief ed­i­tor of the forth­com­ing jour­nal Meta­verse Cre­ativ­ity with In­tel­lect Jour­nals, UK and is cur­rently study­ing for a doc­toral de­gree at the Plan­e­tary Col­legium, CAiiA hub, at the Uni­ver­sity of Ply­mouth with Roy As­cott.