Speedrunning and the digitized body
Diplorasis is a mirrored corridor that replicates a funhouse-mirrored room. The participant who enters this ‘funhouse’ space is not prepared for what is in store. The participant’s likeness is secretly reproduced while he is inside the corridor. One’s body-image is digitally captured, scanned, processed and three-dimensionally re-projected back to him. Suddenly and unexpectedly, one sees oneself seeing oneself from the viewpoint of someone else in three-dimensional (stereoscopic) and animated formats. The diplorasis employs an assemblage of older visual devices such as the Wheatstone stereoscope, in relation to more recent hardware/software configurations (including the use of open-source software such as gPhoto, Arduino micro-controllers, Raspberry Pi micro-computers, LCD screens, DSLR cameras, digitally controlled lighting and so on). Emerging electronic processes are challenging the established limits of inside/outside through new assemblages of vision, body and space. This obfuscation of inside/outside was already anticipated in pre-digital multi-media installation projects, such as Bruce Nauman’s Live-Taped Video Corridor (1970). This paper will initially focus on the shift from digital-analog hybrid media to pre-digital media in order to revise the changing understanding of inside/outside from the tele-visual to the informational, by considering the role of the participant from Live-Taped Video Corridor to the diplorasis. In both cases what is of interest is the point of confrontation between a visual medium and the subject that experiences such a visuality. The changing understanding of inside/outside will then be used to consider how these particular media assemblages are also shifting in terms of subjective participatory control. According to art historian Janet Kraynak’s reading of Nauman’s corridor, the technological experience of the participant anticipates the manipulated and co-erced user within informational technologies, such as the Internet. The diplorasis on the other hand considers how the participant caught within a similar controlling apparatus, yet escapes from being captured and co-erced by informational technologies. This latter deviation from the controlling apparatus is therefore considered from the point of view of the online gaming practice called speedrunning. Speedrunning is generally defined as the ‘process of completing a game as quickly as possible’. It came into prominence with the internet and online gaming communities. In one sense the internet offered a platform whereby participants could manipulate and reverse the prescribed and pre-set movements within gaming environments. The designers of games like Super Mario 64 couldn’t have fully anticipated how the rules of their games would become hacked by speedrunners. In the virtual space of the hacker/ speedrunner the narrative space itself is rewritten by exceeding the conventional paths that had been previously set by the game-designers. The diplorasis similarly couldn’t have fully anticipated that the participant, by re-visiting the space, would hack and thus re-script his relationship with his bodily image capture, and thus his role with-in the performative space of the installation.
Citation : Themistokleous, G. (2020) Speedrunning and the digitized body. 1st DC I/O Conference and Exhibition on computational design & algorithmic methodologies applied to design. London, June 2020.
Research Institute : Institute of Architecture
Peer Reviewed : Yes