embodiment and space

For my ’embodiment and space in the digital age’ class, Jason Farman asked us to begin with  bare bones definitions of embodiment and of space that we will continue developing over the semester.

So, here are my initial rough thoughts, followed hopefully, with updates as I continue developing my ideas.

embodiment – to have a body – does it have something to do with the cartesian mind-body split? to be embodied seems to require materiality, but that is not necessarily true- in terms of materiality being a physical, touchable presence – maybe materiality needs to be re-defined in order to have a good definition of embodiment.

Perhaps it is mindfulness about the body? (so, for those without mindfulness, do they cease to exist?-  I don’t think, therefore I disappear?- perhaps there is some truth to that digitally speaking- if you aren’t ‘mindful’ and writing, or visually present on the internet, you essentially disappear from the digital present)

but how does that work ‘virtually’

Does a body have to be physical? is there a requirement for materiality? Embodiment doesn’t have to be a physical body, so why should a body have to be physical? I’m thinking about the sci-fi ideas for uploading the self – moving the mind and embodiment out of the body, into the internets- Tron style, or even matrix style-

And what is the truth of this ‘online’ or in digital spaces? If I am not thinking, am I present? Does it just become an archive? Do you have to be present to be embodied? If it was written in the past, and is now an archive, is it still embodied?

In thinking about being embodied, within a digital space, I think about games, and how a person can be themselves, can be the character and know they are both at the same time, and while one effects the other, there is still room for both. (and in game design, more than this) there is an example of a boy who is playing being a train… his dad goes to hug him and he says to his dad that he can’t hug a train.  the boy is himself, he is also the train. (this is from a game design book- I’ll try to find the quote)

9/16:  can the body be the mediator? the way mediatized and repurposing are being used and defined across digital / representations of us-  what if embodiment is simply the mediatization of the body? What if we repurpose our many selves across space, time and social media profiles?

Space is somewhat easier for me to define- having spent quite a bit of time thinking, reading and creating about space- and now, of course, has to incorporate some meanings from Lefebvre…
space – one of my favorite things… (and different from place)

so here is a simple definition of space:

space is a constantly produced sociality- through values and meanings, and architecture and public planning, and the people and things absent or present in/from that space over time.

space does not have to be physical.
if space is not physical, then it is something else, perhaps virtual can work as a term for now. but virtual suggests unreal. then we have the binary distinction of real life vs virtual life, which is another binary that needs to just go away.

but if it’s not physical, then we have to bring the body, or at least embodiment, into conversation with space over time… and I think we can’t have the production of space without embodiment.