Paper Presentation accepted to NECS conference
Transitions: Moving Images and Bodies
18–20 June 2020
Hosted by the University of Palermo
Panel members: Ian Christie, Ana Olenina, Julia Vassilieva, Pia Tikka
Conference cancelled due to cover-19.
Luria-Eisenstein experiment of embodiment re-enacted in virtual reality
This talk discusses the practical revival of the psychological experiment that Alexander Luria and Sergei Eisenstein conducted a century ago into a virtual reality (VR) setup. The experiment, that applied hypnosis to subjects in order to study the linkage between sensorimotor behavior and mental states, was rediscovered by Julia Vassilieva in 201#.
The talk has several goals:
(1) To highlight the parachronic nature of theoretical discoveries: As proposed in my Enactive Cinema: Simulatorium Eisensteinense (2008, 42), theoretical ideas have the tendency to re-emerge anew in cycles, adapted to the current context again and again. Even today’s embodied mind approach has its roots deep in the theoretical ideas of historical practitioners in arts and sciences, such as Luria and Eisenstein.
(2) To address significant paradigmatic overlaps: The re-enacted experiment allows identifying common grounds between the psychoanalytical ideas as it was conceived of as in the Luria-Eisenstein experiment and the neuro-phenomenological approach introduced by Francisco Varela in 1996. Furthermore, it allows relating Raymond Bellour’s idea of the hypnotic nature of cinematic experience (2009) to the experience of immersion in virtual reality settings, as also discussed recently by Marie-Laure Cazin (unpublished thesis 2020).
(3) To reconfigure the practical set-up of the Luria-Eisenstein experiment by means of VR with a focus on comparing the methodologies of producing immersive experience in their time and today.
In sum, following the original protocol reported by Luria and Eisenstein, the re-enacted experiment extrapolates the theoretical ideas of Eisenstein-Luria collaboration onto the 21st century art-science context.