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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Intimate Encounters: the Mixed Reality Paradigm and Audience Responses


Our lived experience is that of a mixed reality. The online and the offline—the real and the virtual—are becoming increasingly blurred and enmeshed. Humans take on the virtual form of avatars to interact in cybernetic virtual environments. Computers become ‘social actors’ interacting face-to-face with human audiences through the screen interface or by leaving the screen to interact as physically embodied robotic entities. This paper investigates the phenomenological nature of our embodied and lived experiences with both screen-based and physically embodied entities and explores the way sensorial and emotional affects are distributed between the physical and the virtual. Examples are drawn from a range of new media art projects focusing on the audience experience of different screen-based (virtual) and embodied (robotic) entities and the mixed reality terrains they inhabit with their human audiences.

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