Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror & VR Avatars! Embodying Fantastika...


If your avatar could be any character from science fiction, fantasy, or horror, who would you be? Why?

If your avatar could demonstrate a specific animation (such as breathing fire or transforming from a robot into a car), what would it be?

Let's chat about embodiment, in the virtual reality sense, in the cognitive and emotional sense, and also in the fantastical sense... how our bodies, our sense of being in them (or not, or not in complete control of them), play important roles in science fiction, fantasy, horror, medical thrillers, and similar. For example, I've always been fascinated by movies like The Fly, or science fiction series such as The Culture, in which bodies are transformed and personalities transplanted. I'm equally fascinated by tales of social VR users customizing their avatars, to be such things as robots, dragons, or members of other races or sexes. Coincidently, the conference Embodying Fantastika (August 8-10) explores similar themes. Join us in the ruins of a gothic cathedral, along with famous characters from science fiction and fantasy, to discuss!


Since this a Health Systems Chat in Social VR, what's the medical connection? Virtual reality is increasingly being explored for treating or helping to manage a variety of physical, psychological and neurological problems, from phantom limb pain to body dysmorphias.

Some of the most gruesome and unnerving horror novels and movies involve medical conditions and procedures. Can you think of any?

About "Embodiment"...

Embodiment theory – that we use our own bodily experience and processes to understand our own emotional experience, and the experiences of others – has provided a mechanism to help us understand emotional processing. (Embodiment of Emotion Throughout the Lifespan)

Embodiment is a way of describing porous, visceral, felt, enlivened bodily experiences, in and with inhabited worlds. (Embodiment)

Some cool Embodying Fantastika presentations...

Encountering Cyborg Plants: Embodied Experiences of Vegetal Beings in Contemporary Science Fiction Art

“The form of all things but devoid of form”: Transcending the Corporeal in the ecoWeird

Visibility/Disability; Steampunk Prosthetics, Bodies and Industrial Society

Conscripts from birth: war and soldiery in the grim darkness of the far future

Undressing the Ghost: Embodying Bereavement Trauma in Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris

A (New) Weird Teratology: The tentacular monster as abcanny body in the work of China Miéville

“A Pack of Boby-Soxers”: Adolescent Embodiment and the Figure of the Teenage Witch in American Popular Culture

Shapeshifting and the ‘monstrous feminine’: exploring the experience of the sick woman through the figure of the lycanthrope

Heterogeneous Embodiment and the Chimaeric Zombie

‘The first six million years had been all fun and games’: Posthuman Curators and the Question Concerning Storage in Alastair Reynolds’ House of Suns and Slow Bullets

You Are What They Eat: Anthropophagy in Alien Invasion Films of the 1980s

Object-Shock: ‘This Item cannot be used here’

Huge Clay and Creeping Shadows: Fantasy Houses and the Bodies That Move Them

‘She lusted after buildings, and they lusted after her’: Objectophilia and Commodity Animism in Junji Ito’s Fragments of Horror

The more virtual the more real: How video games and the virtual world develop identity

‘Machine imitation’ of ‘real life’: The effect of human obsolescence on the individual self

Suspending Death, Reinventing Life

Visibility/Disability; Steampunk Prosthetics, Bodies and Industrial Society

Additional backgrounders:

Embodiment of cognition and emotion

What can this possibly have to do with Health Systems Chat? Check out this earlier event:

Medical Humanities


aerial photosphere

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