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Open Lecture #20 Frank Fetzer – Being There in Virtual Worlds

IAM Open Lecture #20
Frank Fetzer
Being There in Virtual Worlds: Embodiment as Foundation of Spatial Conception in Virtual Environments
18:00 Thursday 19 April 2018
IAM Media Lab, Kronesgasse 5/III

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Roaming the vast landscape of Skyrim (Bethesda, 2011) or driving a sports car through the busy streets of Los Santos (GTA V, Rockstar, 2013) seems like a quite normal, everyday thing to do. And still, navigating through these virtual worlds (which are in many ways close simulations of our physical world) re-shapes our conception of space extremely. This presentation will have a closer look at how inhabiting virtual worlds comes about in phenomenological terms. Starting with the assumption that spatial conception is a function of our embodied existence, it explores how the use of technology alters our grasp of space. Foregrounding the avatar as crucial part in virtual embodiment as prosthetic vicarious body of the player, this talk will address how its physical properties and capabilities determine our comprehension of virtual space.

Frank Fetzer is a PhD candidate in the last year at the University of Vienna. He holds a master’s degree in film studies from the same institution. His work focuses mainly on phenomenological and post-phenomenological theories. Key elements of his research are embodiment, human-technology relations, cyborgs, the ontology of virtual worlds and of course the video game as such. In his dissertation project, he tries to disentangle the manifold relations between player and video game as technological artefact and extension of player and world.

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