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Identity, otherness and the virtual double

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Interactive media arts offer us new approaches to the role of theatrical representation. Nowadays, digital technology allows us to explore self-representation in systems that cross over between installation art, theatre and performance. By confronting the subject with his or her own image, these devices question the mechanisms of identification and denegation. Both the theatrical creations and the interactive forms that are examined here invite the spectator to explore the relationship between identification and denegation. All the artistic productions that are studied in this article call for a virtual double that the immersant meets: Liquid Views (1992) and Rigid Waves ([1993] 2008) by Monika Fleischmann and Wolfgang Strauss, Telematic Dreaming ([1992] 2007) by Paul Sermon and Eux (2008) by the Crew company and Sensorama (2009) by the Andwhatbeside(s)death company. In all of these artworks, the participant is encouraged to give less importance to his or her cognitive senses in order to allow his or her sensations to create a representation of himself or herself. The overlap between identity and otherness is therefore to be found at the very heart of the sensitive body.
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Keywords: disembodiment; doppelgänger; identity; neurosciences; otherness; self-consciousness; sensitive body; virtuality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Université Libre de Bruxelles 2: University of Texas and Planetary Collegium

Publication date: 2011-09-05

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  • Technoetic Arts focuses upon the juncture between art, technology and the mind. Divisions between academic areas of study, once rigidly fixed, are gradually dissolving due to developments in science and cultural practice. This fusion has had a dramatic effect upon the scope of various disciplines. In particular, the profile of art has radically evolved in our present technological culture
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