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A Body Between
thesisposted on 20.07.2020 by Michael Neumann
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
Virtual space is liminal and offers experiences that reflect on embodied experience. Oscillating between realities of the physical and virtual realms reveals a hybridized body
that is both digital and flesh. A new somatic knowledge is gained from physicalized experience of digital space and a digital experience of the physical. The following discussion is about two bodies of Michael Charles Neumann’s exploratory work, Field of Bodies (2018) and Shadow and Dust (2018).
Neumann’s work creates opportunities in experiential forms of art for hybridized bodies and subjectivities by creating prostheses, sculpting bodies in virtual worlds, and
designing processes that focus attention on the physicality, features, flexibility and failures of the body. His work reveals the experience of being held in suspension between
physical and virtual worlds, revealing an alternate embodied experience. The thesis is structured as follows. A brief background contextualizes Neumann's work within a historical lineage of media artists who employ technology as a self-reflexive medium and content. Five case studies evaluate Neumann’s virtual works with the criteria of: rationale, planning and execution, key aesthetics, and critical appraisal. Discussion of the rationale unpacks questions and inclinations that give direction to the works. Planning and execution will consider how questions of
embodiment become the process of working, and how each of the works is completed. Key aesthetics describes the main features of the works and their formal qualities in form,
performance, and presentation strategies. Lastly, critical appraisal analyzes each of the five works and evaluates presentation and embodied experience. This essay concludes by assessing the exploration of this work, how it achieves an alternate embodied experience, and suggests avenues for inquiry in future research.
Degree TypeMaster's Thesis
- Master of Fine Arts (MFA)