[ISEA2011] Panel: Mark Palmer – Putting Users in the Pic­ture: Em­bod­i­ment, Af­fect and the Dig­i­tal

Panel Statement

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.

  • Mark Palmer’s re­search fo­cuses on new the use of games and multi-user vir­tual sys­tems to ex­am­ine is­sues of af­fect and em­bod­i­ment. Cur­rent pro­jects in­clude re­search into the de­vel­op­ment of tools to de­scribe body image in con­di­tions such as Com­plex Re­gional Pain Syn­drome, the de­vel­op­ment of in­ter­faces to pain man­age­ment tools and the use of biofeed­back in games. He is un­der­tak­ing this work at the Uni­ver­sity of the West of Eng­land where he also teaches Games Tech­nol­ogy in the de­part­ment of Com­puter Sci­ence and Cre­ative Tech­nolo­gies. He is presently a mem­ber of the ed­i­to­r­ial board for Dig­i­tal Cre­ativ­ity and pre­vi­ous po­si­tions have in­cluded an AHRC Re­search Fel­low­ship at Stafford­shire Uni­ver­sity and a New Tech­nol­ogy Arts Fel­low­ship at the Uni­ver­sity of Cam­bridge (UK).

Full text (PDF) p.  1840-1847 [different title!]