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Proceedings Paper

Ambient clumsiness in virtual environments
Author(s): Silvia Ruzanka; Katherine Behar
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Paper Abstract

A fundamental pursuit of Virtual Reality is the experience of a seamless connection between the user's body and actions within the simulation. Virtual worlds often mediate the relationship between the physical and virtual body through creating an idealized representation of the self in an idealized space. This paper argues that the very ubiquity of the medium of virtual environments, such as the massively popular Second Life, has now made them mundane, and that idealized representations are no longer appropriate. In our artwork we introduce the attribute of clumsiness to Second Life by creating and distributing scripts that cause users' avatars to exhibit unpredictable stumbling, tripping, and momentary poor coordination, thus subtly and unexpectedly intervening with, rather than amplifying, a user's intent. These behaviors are publicly distributed, and manifest only occasionally - rather than intentional, conscious actions, they are involuntary and ambient. We suggest that the physical human body is itself an imperfect interface, and that the continued blurring of distinctions between the physical body and virtual representations calls for the introduction of these mundane, clumsy elements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 January 2010
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7525, The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality 2010, 75250C (27 January 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.845705
Show Author Affiliations
Silvia Ruzanka, Indiana Univ. (United States)
Katherine Behar, Pace Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7525:
The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality 2010
Ian E. McDowall; Margaret Dolinsky, Editor(s)

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