Session Title:

  • Virtual Doppelgangers: Embodiment, Morphogenesis, and Transversal Action

Presentation Title:

  • Untitled




  • Chair Per­sons: Patrick Lichty & Susan Eliz­a­beth Ryan
    Pre­sen­ters: Gre­gory Lit­tle, Elle Mehrmand, Micha Cárde­nas & Stephanie Rothen­berg

    In 1969 Gilles Deleuze the­o­rized the “BwO” or Body With­out Or­gans (in The Logic of the Sense, after Ar­taud’s orig­i­nal term). It refers to the vir­tual di­men­sion of the body and its po­ten­tials, likened to the egg as site of em­bod­i­ment (in Deleuze and Guat­tari’s Anti-Oedi­pus)—a set of mul­ti­ple po­ten­tial­i­ties as well as dys­func­tional rep­e­ti­tions. In this panel we seek to ex­plore the re­la­tions be­tween fleshly bod­ies and dig­i­tized ones as sites of em­bod­i­ment for our cur­rent, in­for­mat­i­cally en­er­gized ex­is­tences. From Face­book re­la­tion­ships to per­for­mances in Sec­ond Life, many of us ex­pe­ri­ence var­i­ous parts of our lives vir­tu­ally today. But how are these ex­pe­ri­ences ab­sorbed into our so-called “real lives”?  In what ways do our vir­tual and phys­i­cal spaces in­ter­sect—are they ag­glom­er­ated re­al­i­ties (Har­away), or em­bed­ded in some on­to­log­i­cal con­tin­uum?

    There have been con­tro­ver­sies and sup­port­ing stud­ies (esp. con­cern­ing vir­tual games) sug­gest­ing that ex­cess so­cial me­di­a­tion is harm­ful to­wards our “sense of re­al­ity” and abil­ity to in­ter­act in so­ci­ety. But re­searchers of vir­tual life like Nick Yee (Di­rec­tor of the Daedalus Pro­ject sur­vey of MMO play­ers) have shown that avatar ex­pe­ri­ences pos­i­tively af­fect our phys­i­cal lives and per­son­al­i­ties. Still, new re­search sup­ports old wis­dom that too much vir­tu­al­ity is harm­ful to­ward our “sense of re­al­ity” and abil­ity to in­ter­act in so­ci­ety. How are we to think about our bod­ies and their vir­tual dou­bles? Artists and de­sign­ers know the meta­physics of the BwO. They have cre­ated in­no­v­a­tive ways to ex­plore how vir­tual ex­pe­ri­ences can rad­i­cally trans­form our real-world iden­ti­ties, as with Micha Cárde­nas’s Be­com­ing Dragon (2008); or so­cioe­co­nom­i­cally im­pact the phys­i­cal world, as did Rothen­berg and Crouse’s In­vis­i­ble Threads/Dou­ble­Hap­pi­ness Jeans pro­ject (2007-8). The ses­sion will ad­dress both art­works and the­o­ret­i­cal frame­works that en­gage our repli­cated bod­ies, the af­fec­tive re­la­tions they cre­ate, and trans­ver­sal ef­fects across mul­ti­ple en­vi­ron­ments, plat­forms, and phys­i­cal ap­pear­ances.

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