#DIMENSIONSXR2020/ Daniel Landau: BECOMING OTHER: Virtual Embodiment, blurring the Self-Other Binary

he research presented in this talk explores the impact that virtual reality and virtual embodiment technologies have on the distinction between ‘self and other’.
Do VR and virtual embodiment have the capacity to reevaluate this gap, blurring this binary?
The work presented here aims to evaluate these technologies in the ever-evolving relationship between technology and the self. From Narcissus’s pond, through reflective surfaces and mirrors, to current day selfies, the concepts of the self, body image, and self-awareness have been strongly influenced by the human interaction with imaging technologies. In fact, one could argue that the evolution of imaging, sensing, and computational technologies has played a central role in the evolution of the self as a construct. Between the mental process of body image and how we think we appear to others, imaging technologies such as mirrors, photos and videos can be considered as a new “external eye” – providing humans the perspective of seeing themselves from the outside.

My talk explores various VR methods of placing participants “in others’ shoes”, with the goal of finding out to what extent the self-other gap can be blurred. This investigation is contextualized in the emerging field of ‘Techno-self’, exploring the complex relationship between Technology and the Self.

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