RECHERCHE ACADÉMIQUEECOcinema

Real Presences in Virtual Cinema

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The digital interfaces provided by Emotiv Systems presage a paradigm shift in the fields of virtual gaming and interactive Cinema, through redesigning narrative and immersive strategies around the idea of emotional emplotment. By mirroring the complex relationship between emotional states and interpretative consciousness, these interfaces will dramatically heighten user's immersion and introduce more intuitive forms of agency.

Emotiv's Expressiv' suite synchronizes avatar's facial expressions with those of users and permits human-like communication between avatars and artificial agents. Their Cognitiv' suite goes a step further by reading and interpreting conscious thoughts and intentions, thus empowering users with telekinesic skills that enable them to manipulate virtual objects solely by mind-control. Through this recursive feedback 'the player is able to focus on a specific thought such as lifting an object up, and the Cognitiv' suite sends commands through the API to levitate the object in the virtual world' (emotiv.com). 
The most challenging realization of Emotiv is the Affectiv' suite, which tracks the emotional states of the subject and consequently alters the atmosphere of the virtual world, recalibrates levels of interaction, tailors the chain of events, and stimulates emotional responses in virtual agents in harmony with the emotions of the user.

Emotional and imaginal interfaces enhance the subjectification of the virtual environment by providing organicity to the avatar and transforming it into a cognitive vehicle for the user's self.  That process transcends the avatar's body by virtually expanding the user's perceptual and experiential corporeity and cognitive apparatus to the whole virtual environment. To a lesser extent, that dynamic is observable in Shared Virtual Worlds such as Second Life. In SL, user can indeed benefit from a highly disembodied vision, independent from the avatar, which allows him to travel freely through surfaces and textures, reaching what Gilles Deleuze would have called a 'machinic' or 'molecular vision' of which subject is both the human user and the program.

Thomas Sheridan and Marie-Laure Ryan underscored that peculiarity by addressing the synchronized relocation of the center of consciousness into distant objects, or into other telepresent agents, as a key-condition of immersion in Virtual Environments (VE). By allowing multidimensional actions, sensorimotor stimulation, and deterritorialized perceptions, digital interfaces constitute what I will call an 'intersensorial corporeity' in which all interacting agents converge. (Morignat, 2004)

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