Visual, Virtual and Embodied

My presence at the Big Bang Data exhibition translates in an embodied experience through such immersive elements of digital media as telepresence, virtuality and simulation (Miller, 2011, p.31). Such an experience plays a fundamental role in direct relationship with the nature of the exhibition itself, wherein the Internet and real-time data is explored by a number of artists, designers, journalists and visionaries.

Data gives us new ways of doing things, of immersing oneself in different environments, new forms of social interaction: what Miller refers to as the “immersive relationship between media and user” (Miller, 2011, p.31). From previous modules on the MA Creative Media, my main concern has been with the Internet of Bodies – (dis)embodiment in the networked society. Furthermore, my interest in last week’s reading’s reference to embodiment in digital cities and the use of dating sites such as Tinder and Grindr (Tarantino and Tosoni, 2013) points to the same direction. Such a topic is well tackled in this week’s reading by Miller (2011) Key Elements of Digital Media, which systematically describes how communication technologies have the potential to alter our feelings of presence. Such an “altered sense of presence” allows us to exist in the “physical environment in which our body is located and the conceptual or interactional ‘space’ we are presented with through the use of the medium” (Steuer, 1992 cited in Miller, 2011, p.31). Thus as Miller (2011) proposes, I shall “exist as an abstraction” (p.33) at the Big Bang Data exhibition. Through telepresence, I shall experience presence in a foreign environment by means of a communication medium (Steuer, 1992 cited in Miller, 2011, p.31).

As the title of this Blog post implies, I am most fascinated by the visual, virtual and embodied aspects of data. Thus, in relation to digital cities, Lev Manovich and Moritz Stefaner’s Selfiecity, which reflects data generated by the public through selfies in six main cities, and shared on social media, reflects body representations and digital visualisations. Such a work links to other works by artists who have explored the embodied representations through selfies in the visual and performance arts. Body by Body (2014), a collaboration by Melissa Sachs and Cameron Soren, as well as Kate Durbin’s performance art project Hello Selfie (2014). Furthermore such themes of representation and simulacra are touched on in Miller’s account on virtuality and embodiment.

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Kate Durbin’s performance art project Hello Selfie (2014)

 

Body by Body (2014)

 

Julie Freeman’s use of data as an art material in her work We Need Us, is also highly influential and inspirational to me, work which is realized by the use of data visualization to data art. Such a work explores humanity in the network, thus the embodied and emotional experience of data is once again prominent. Finally, the immersion into live data at the London Situation Room, involves a real-time data experience of interaction and human data in cities that also brings to the forefront the theme of embodiment in digital cities.

 

 

Bibliography

Askinazi, J., 2014. Kate Durbin on her Performance Art Project ‘Hello Selfie’ [online] Available at: <http://bullettmedia.com/article/kate-durbin-on-her-performance-art-project-hello-selfie/> [Accessed 3 January 2016].

Big Bang Data Exhibition in Somerset House, London [online] Available at: <http://bigbangdata.somersethouse.org.uk/> [Accessed 17 February 2016].

Dismagazine., 2014. Body by Body [online] Available at: <http://dismagazine.com/dystopia/58619/two-weird-tricks/> [Accessed 3 January 2016].

Miller, V., 2011. Key Elements of Digital Media. [pdf] Available at: <https://studentcentral.brighton.ac.uk/bbcswebdav/pid-2598024-dt-content-rid-4845442_1/courses/LM130_2015/Miller_2011_Key_Elements_of_Digital_Media.pdf> [Accessed 17 February 2016].

Tarantino, M. & Tosoni, S., 2013. Introduction: Beyond the Centrality of Media and the Centrality of Space [online] Available at: <http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4953 > [Accessed 10 February 2016].

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