Title page for ETD etd-05072012-110551

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Clinnin, Kaitlin Marie
Author's Email Address kclinnin@vt.edu
URN etd-05072012-110551
Title Beyond Binary Digital Embodiment
Degree Master of Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Siegle, Robert B. Committee Chair
Collier, James H. Committee Member
Powell, Katrina M. Committee Member
  • virtual
  • dance
  • digital embodiment
  • cybernetics
  • new media art
Date of Defense 2012-04-24
Availability unrestricted
The late 20th and early 21st centuries have seen the creation of new forms of subjectivities that represent the integration of digital and information technologies into construction of the self and bodies. I argue that to this point there has not been a satisfactory theoretical framework for the experience of bodies in virtual environments that does not default to problematic binaries of physical and virtual, real and unreal, and meaningful and meaningless. These dualistic constructions render experiences of bodies within virtual settings meaningless. In order to examine how this power differential between physical and virtual came to be, I engage with Katherine Hayles’ evaluation of information as a disembodied entity. I argue that Hayles’ humanist principles prevents her from fully understanding the experience of bodies within virtual spaces as meaningful and important. I then deconstruct the materialist basis of representation in order to demonstrate how information can be reconceived as an embodied force. I further analyze digital media art installations, specifically dance performances, to examine how digital bodies are currently experienced in relationship to corporeal forms. I finally offer two new theories of and the networked body in order to dismantle the binary between physical and virtual and to make a space for all embodied experiences to be valued.
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