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Identifying with an avatar : a multidisciplinary perspective

Hamilton, Jillian G. (2009) Identifying with an avatar : a multidisciplinary perspective. In Fennessy, Liam, Kerr, Russell, Melles, Gavin, Thong, Christine, & Wright, Emily (Eds.) Proceedings of the Cumulus Conference: 38º South: Hemispheric Shifts Across Learning, Teaching and Research, Swinburne University of Technology and and RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology and and RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

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Abstract

Avatars perform a complex range of inter-related functions. They not only allow us to express a digital identity, they facilitate the expression of physical motility and, through non-verbal expression, help to mediate social interaction in networked environments. When well designed, they can contribute to a sense of “presence” (a sense of being there) and a sense of “co-presence” (a sense of being there with others) in digital space.

Because of this complexity, the study of avatars can be enriched by theoretical insights from a range of disciplines. This paper considers avatars from the perspectives of critical theory, visual communication, and art theory (on portraiture) to help elucidate the role of avatars as an expression of identity. It goes on to argue that identification with an avatar is also produced through their expression of motility and discusses the benefits of film theory for explaining this process. Conceding the limits of this approach, the paper draws on philosophies of body image, Human Computer Interaction (HCI) theory on embodied interaction, and fields as diverse as dance to explain the sense of identification, immersion, presence and co-presence that avatars can produce.

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ID Code: 29701
Item Type: Conference Paper
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Avatars, design, presence, embodied interaction, visual communication
ISBN: 9781921426520
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > INFORMATION SYSTEMS (080600) > Computer-Human Interaction (080602)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Visual Communication Design (incl. Graphic Design) (120307)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > INFORMATION SYSTEMS (080600)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING (080500) > Mobile Technologies (080502)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > TECHNOLOGY (100000) > COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES (100500) > Computer Communications Networks (100503)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Digital and Interaction Design (120304)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Jillian Hamilton
Copyright Statement: Proceedings copyright © 2009 Swinburne University of Technology and RMIT University. Individual papers copyright © 2009 The Authors. The authors assign to Swinburne University of Technology and RMIT University a non-exclusive licence to publish this paper in the Proceedings of the Cumulus 38° South Conference. Permission for limited re-use is provided under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia Licence.
Deposited On: 15 Jan 2010 09:32
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:11

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