SEEK: Salford Environment for Expertise and Knowledge

Book Section
January 2012

Chapter 13: (Dis)Embodiment'

Sermon, P 2012 'Chapter 13: (Dis)Embodiment'', in: Chatzichristodoulou, M & Zerihan, R (eds.), Intimacy Across Visceral and Digital Performance, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, pp.160-173.


 Through discursive accounts of my own practice I will explore issues of (dis)embodiment in relation to presence and intimacy as experienced and performed in telematic and virtual environments. At what point is the participant embodying the virtual performer in front of them? And have they become disembodied in doing so? A number of interactive telematic artworks are looked at in detail, establishing case- study examples to provide answers to these questions. Stemming from my telematic experiments in the early 1990s and recent site-specific user-generated presence and performance work to current immerging creative/critical practice in ‘Second Life’ that polarizes fundamental existential questions concerning identity, the self, the ego and the (dis)embodied avatar. This chapter investigates how the experience of tactility and physicality, as explored in my creative practice makes both the participants/performers and the artists/directors more susceptible to new forms of social narrative, yet also offers altered ways for generating effective responsive experiences. These latter projects deal with the ironies and stereotypes in multi-user virtual environments such as cultural identity, gender roles, digital consumption and virtual desire. This work aims to specifically utilise alternative interactive functionality and techniques in multi-user virtual environments that allow the participants to embody performer roles to interact and direct new social networked creative narratives by their communication, presence and movements.


SEEK Members


Non-SEEK Editors

Rachel Zerihan

Maria Chatzichristodoulou

Publication Details

Book/Publication Title
Intimacy Across Visceral and Digital Performance


Palgrave Macmillan
Basingstoke, UK.