Putting Users in the Pic­ture: Em­bod­i­ment, Af­fect and the Dig­i­tal


Session Title:

  • Emotion Studies in a Contemporary Art Debate

Presentation Title:

  • Putting Users in the Pic­ture: Em­bod­i­ment, Af­fect and the Dig­i­tal




  • Panel: Emotion Studies in a Contemporary Art Debate

    Our bod­ies are our pri­mary means of know­ing the world. In fact the body often re­acts to events long be­fore we per­ceive those changes. Sim­i­larly Dama­sio as­serts the role of emo­tion as the pri­mary means through which we en­gage with the world with feel­ings then being ‘thoughts that rep­re­sent the body in­volved in a re­ac­tive process’. This poses a se­ries of ques­tions with re­gards the no­tion of emo­tions ‘within’ the dig­i­tal given emo­tion’s fun­da­men­tal re­la­tion­ship to the body. For in­stance al­though it might be pos­si­ble to emo­tion­ally react to events pre­sented through the dig­i­tal can there be an ex­pres­sion of that emo­tion be­yond the im­me­di­acy of the emo­tions of those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it? How might the body and its emo­tions be­come pre­sent within the dig­i­tal?

    Is it pos­si­ble to begin cre­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ences within the dig­i­tal that are ca­pa­ble of un­pack­ing our re­ac­tions to events as other time based media are ca­pa­ble of doing rather that dwelling within the power of in­ter­ac­tiv­ity? These is­sues will be ex­am­ined through Dama­sio’s work on Spin­oza as well as the op­por­tu­nity to con­sider the cen­tral­ity of the body through the phe­nom­e­nol­ogy of Mer­leau-Ponty. These ideas will then be de­vel­oped through the au­thor’s re­search ex­am­in­ing how biofeed­back pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to vi­su­alise the phys­i­o­log­i­cal processes that are a part of our emo­tions and con­sider whether the ‘ex­pres­sion’ of these emo­tions through these processes might in it­self pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity to begin un­der­stand­ing our emo­tions through a new means.

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