#DIMENSIONSXR2020 Pr Pia Tikka : “Enactive virtuality as the common playground of cinema narratives”

Back in 2010 when I suggested to a
roomfull of game students that the
relationship between cinema and
games could be bidirectionally
fruitful, I had to hide from the rotten
tomatoes behind the podium. Indeed,
cinema and videogames have a long
history of mutual love and hate.
My talk, however, is not about this
battle, but about what is in common.
Specifically, I suggest that both can
be regarded as mental simulations of
the world. I will adopt a cognitive
science angle, talking about the
sense making of the idiosyncratic
mind, reflected through the enactive
mind theory of Francisco Varela and
The mind is active in the world in an
embodied and situated manner, in
this sense the mind enacts virtually,
or simulates the world’s dynamic
phenomena it wants to understand.
Drawing from the combination of
phenomenological inquiry and
scientific evidence, I will argue that
narratives are the mind’s essential
means of sense making. This applies
equally for games and cinema.
This leads further to interpreting the
communicative role of narratives as
an extension of that sense making
function to the social world.
Systemicity is at the core of my
enactive virtuality approach. Be it
cinema, video games, books, or social
media newsfeed, they can be
considered as bio cultural feedback
systems continuously mediating
between the idiosyncratic minds and
the intersubjectively shared worlds.
In this
endeavour , cinema and games
provide a wide range of examples for
my arguments.
Towards the end of the talk, I hope to
engage the audience to the
discussion of whether stories told,
worlds imagined, and enacted upon,
can empower social change for the
wellbeing beyond entertainment.

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