Immersive virtual environments can be either non-interactive or interactive. In the latter case, a key-role is played by the “avatar”, a digital proxy through which the subject interacts with synthetic objects or other avatars. Far from being a term coined in contemporary times, the notion of avatar is rooted in the ancient Hinduist tradition: the Sanskrit term refers to the descent on earth, the material appearance, the sensible manifestation or incarnation of a god or goddess (mostly Vishnu). In Western culture, it has come to be associated with related notions such as the “double”, the “alter ego” and the “Doppelgänger”. My paper addresses this genealogy of the notion of “avatar”, exploring its problematic status from a phenomenological perspective, and connecting it to particular case studies in the domain of New Media Arts (Cao Fei, Jon Rafman, Ian Cheng).

Avatars : Shifting Identities in a Genealogical Perspective / A. Pinotti - In: Shifting Interfaces : An Anthology of Presence, Empathy, and Agency in 21st Century Media Arts / [a cura di] H. Aldouby. - Prima edizione. - Leuven : Leuven University Press, 2020. - ISBN 9789462702257. - pp. 31-45

Avatars : Shifting Identities in a Genealogical Perspective

pinotti, andrea
2020

Abstract

Immersive virtual environments can be either non-interactive or interactive. In the latter case, a key-role is played by the “avatar”, a digital proxy through which the subject interacts with synthetic objects or other avatars. Far from being a term coined in contemporary times, the notion of avatar is rooted in the ancient Hinduist tradition: the Sanskrit term refers to the descent on earth, the material appearance, the sensible manifestation or incarnation of a god or goddess (mostly Vishnu). In Western culture, it has come to be associated with related notions such as the “double”, the “alter ego” and the “Doppelgänger”. My paper addresses this genealogy of the notion of “avatar”, exploring its problematic status from a phenomenological perspective, and connecting it to particular case studies in the domain of New Media Arts (Cao Fei, Jon Rafman, Ian Cheng).
Avatar; Virtual Reality; Immersivity; Interactivity; double; alter ego; Doppelgänger; Rückenfigur
Settore M-FIL/04 - Estetica
Settore L-ART/06 - Cinema, Fotografia e Televisione
Dipartimenti di Eccellenza 2018-2022 - Dipartimento di FILOSOFIA
An-Iconology: History, Theory, and Practices of Environmental Images (AN-ICON)
Book Part (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/756732
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