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!]