EMBODY, TOTAL RUNTIME: 10:37. SINGLE CHANNEL VIDEO, COLOR, SOUND, 4K. MOVEMENT + VOICE: LAUREL JENKINS. ANIMATION + SOUND: PHILIP SCOTT
Embody is an experimental performance of immersion, sound, movement, embodiment, and out of body experiencing. The Project illuminates a powerful and important happening within virtual reality — an array of exciting, potentially positive or dangerous happenings for the human psyche. This phenomena of virtual embodiment opens conversation of who or what “the self” is, and fits within the canons of philosophy, spirituality, performance, and cognitive science; all seeking to understand the nature of self.
“The initial surprise was just how easy it is to trick the brain. When you look at an avatar that’s meant to be someone other than you, the temporo-parietal cortex stays quiet. But when the avatar starts mimicking your movements, showing your heart rate or speaking your words — all tricking your brain into thinking the avatar is your own body — the temporo- parietal cortex lights up, just as it does when you watch yourself in a mirror. Two minutes of simulation can override an entire lifelong experience when it comes to what your body is and where it is. It goes back to Descartes, “Cogito ergo sum.” I think therefore I am. But if our brain adopts an avatar as a body, are we still? We seem to take for granted that our consciousness is in our body. But what if it’s not?”
Installation still, New Wight Gallery, University of California at Los Angeles, CA.