Lena Biresch
Me, Myself & My Avatars (or remapping the homunculus)

  • Sat 27.04.24 16 h – 19 h

Free admission

On 27 April at 8 pm, Lena Biresch will present her work in the form of a live walkthrough.

Program life.like

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.

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