Me, Myself & My Avatars

(or remapping the homunculus)

2021 / 2022

Virtual Reality experience of playable non-human avatars

This virtual reality experience is about the so-called homunculus, a mapping of the movements and sensations experienced by the body located in the neocortex. This homunculus is highly extensible and changeable. For example, if a limb is injured or amputated, the corresponding regions in the homunculus shift to other parts of the body. Jaron Lanier et al. name this concept "homuncular flexibility" and as a prerequisite for being able to identify with an avatar's body in virtual reality at all.

Research into homuncular flexibility combines findings from psychology, neuroscience, philosophy and computer science and posits that the homunculus can also adapt bodies that differ significantly from the typical human form. VR thus becomes a toolbox to explore and max out undreamt-of interaction possibilities between brain and body.

These psychosomatic relationships are made tangible in this VR experience through implementation in the Unity game engine. Based on the research results of Lanier et al., three different playable non-human avatars were developed: one with additional limbs, one consisting of multiple bodies, and one used to control the entire environment.

 

 

Experience Design & Programming: Lena Biresch

3D Art: Tore Nobiling

Puppetry & Programming: Nico Parisius

 

 

Initial Presentation: Saturday 04/09/2022 16 - 22h

Location: Glaserei, Balduinstrasse 22, 20359 Hamburg

 

Exhibition: "Digital Worlds" 09/09/2022 - 01/15/2023

Location: UZWEI, Dortmunder U, Leonie-Reygers-Terrasse, 44137 Dortmund

 

Showing: PAD02 - Performing Arts & Digitalität Festival Darmstadt: 10/02+03/2022

 

 

Insights:

Prototyping as part of a research residency at Schaubude Berlin 2021

Planning & Realization

Handout/TecRider

Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste and Bundesverband bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media within the program NEUSTART KULTUR