Making reading fleshly: how can the body become a reading tool in the cognitive process of constructing meaning through movement, emission and mapping explored through interactive art works
University of Surrey
Supervisor: Kirk Woolford
The role, function and even value of the biological body is becoming less certain as digital technology becomes increasingly more sophisticated, miniaturised and integrated into our lives. How might our future body look, think and behave? There are two tensions at play. On the one hand there is a materially removed digital body co-existing with our physical self through online profiles (social media) and avatars (Linden Lab’s Second Life). On the other, the distinction between skin and screen as separate entities is becoming less defined. Developments in nanotechnology promise to penetrate our skin and interfere with our organic structure on a cellular scale, while our organic data, increasingly surrendered from bodily fluids, is converted into bits and bytes and uploaded as information. Will we navigate the future as fleshy or disembodied beings? This primary aim of this research is to explore the following questions: In what ways does our perceptual and sensorial body interpret knowledge? What is the role of this body in the act of reading in the digital age amongst dynamically changing writing surfaces? In light of these developments, this research will draw upon the body as a mediator of our feelings, emotions and movements and situate the tactic knowledge and visceral responses held within our body, as it exists today. The study will investigate the bodily depths of human understanding and seek to reprioritise our perceptual and sensorial modality with a specific focus on the act of reading in the digital age and explore the changing status of the writing surface.