Gender in kinesthetic digital play» Computationally Reconstituted Identity

Allen, David
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Ruiz, Kathleen
Hahn, Tomie
Lawson, Shawn A.
Radke, Richard J., 1974-
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Electronic arts
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This thesis and accompanying creative work examine the social implications of creating computational representations of the body for kinesthetic digital play, a term I use to describe a form of play that has emerged at the intersection of expressive movement, computer vision, and the interactive image since the mid-1960s. The language, analytical frameworks, and historical perspectives of interactive art, game design theory, and dance studies are drawn upon to lay the conceptual foundation of kinesthetic digital play. In this technology-mediated form of body play, participants’ primary form of engagement takes place in the often conflated activities of both being mimicked by and of mimicking computational representations of the body in movement. Due to the bidirectional nature of this coupling, kinesthetic digital play carries a large potential for influencing participants' images of their own bodies, including notions of gender, bringing to light an implied social responsibility in the development of sensors and computational systems employed in the creation of such images. This thesis applies that argument both to key artistic influences in the field that form the cultural context of my work; as well as to the artistic intent behind my own collaborative efforts that culminated with HARLEQUIN, my thesis art installation. The epilogue then offers a brief glimpse into larger areas in which such responsibilities might be examined further in future work.
August 2015
School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Dept. of the Arts
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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