Postphenomenological Performance in Interactive Narrative

Postphenomenological Performance in Interactive Narrative

Daniel Paul O'Brien (University of Glasgow, Department of Film and Television Studies, Glasgow, Scotland)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJEP.2017040104
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Abstract

This paper addresses the performance of bodies through a postphenomenological framework developed by Don Ihde. Through his theory, I will argue how performance is central to the stories of two recent interactive artworks: Dennis Del Favero's Scenario (2011) and Blast Theory's A Machine to See With (2010). Both artworks are distinct interactive narratives that utilize the human body in different ways. In each experience, it is essential for the user's body to perform with a technology in order to move the story through a sequence of events. In doing so the user as a performing body co-authors the story by interfacing with a technology in a specific way. My readings of the artworks are based on interviews that I have conducted with each of the artists. I pair these accounts with Ihdeian analysis to explain how different types of technologies and different uses of a technology break down into different human-technology relationships. I use these relationships to show how the story in each artwork is mobilized through the body of the participant as a postphenomenological performance.
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Introduction

This paper explores the extensions of the human body in interactive artwork environments, which is considered through the postphenomenological framework of Don Ihde’s philosophy of technology. Through this framework this paper builds upon Ihde’s postphenomenology to consider how narrative is formed in interactive spaces through the gestures and behaviours of bodily movement. This work discusses how the body co-creates meaningful experiences by interfacing with a technology and how such experientially reveals what a body is. This paper analyses Dennis Del Favero’s Scenario (2011), a digital interactive and immersive narrative artwork that uses the body to structure and co-create a fictional experience. Within this work a user’s body becomes virtually wired into the immersive world through the performance of their movement. Emphasis within this cinematic experience is thus shifted from the screen to the moving body that is sensed by the technological architecture of the space, revealing a specific relationship between the narrative, body and space of the installation. Using and building upon Ihde’s framework this paper also incorporates original interview material with Del Favero to consider how a body, within an interactive space, becomes a postphenomenological performance.

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