From hybrid bodies to haunted bodies: Mobile technologies, affect and theatre
Ní Chróinín, Máiréad
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Mobile digital technologies - from smartphones, to wearables, to pervasive technologies - are transforming the ways in which we experience our own bodies, and the ways in which we experience the world through our bodies. From fitness apps that calculate your pace, to bio-sensors that capture your breath and heartbeat, the digital is becoming inter-woven with the physical at a biological level in ever more pervasive ways. This thesis seeks to found a theoretical model for representing how mobile technologies intervene in the user's lived, embodied experience by interacting affectively with the body as a biological, sensing entity. Building on this theoretical model, this thesis also develops a design methodology that accounts for, and effectively utilizes, the affective potential of mobile technologies and media. To do this, this thesis examine mobile technology experiences - apps, games or performances - that utilize mobile technologies to generate a three-way communication between the user, their body and space. These mobile experiences are analyzed through the lens of theatre and performance studies to reveal how, through these experiences, the body of the participant becomes a direct site of interaction between the digital and the physical, at a sensory level. Accordingly, these experiences serve both as a critique of the current practices and ideologies underpinning mobile technologies and as a demonstration of alternative practices and ideologies. A key contribution of this thesis is the development of a shared, inter-disciplinary vocabulary (concepts and practices) that practitioners and scholars can utilize in order to create hybrid experiences of the digital and the real. In so doing, this thesis demonstrates how mobile technologies offer the opportunity to re-think our subjective experiences of the body, time, and space, and our inter-subjective experiences of other human and non-human bodies, in ways that challenge and confront socio-political and cultural norms.
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