Lisa Messeri // Feb. 5, 2020

Embodied Omniscience: The Production and Consumption of Virtual Reality

Lisa Messeri, Wed. Feb. 5, 2-3pm. 220 York Street, room 004 (this is a new location!)


This talk examines the production and experience of VR, particularly 360 film. Drawing on ethnographic research with the VR community in Los Angeles, I consider how one is expected to view and react to VR as well as how that expectation gets embedded in the production process. I attend to how the 360 camera is something that an actor performs for in a certain way and how this in turn shapes the experience of doing and seeing VR. In seeking to characterize the VR gaze, I propose embodied omniscience as a fantasy of presence that obscures the reality of a viewer’s absence.

Lisa Messeri is an Assistant Professor of sociocultural anthropology at Yale. Her training is in anthropology and science and technology studies and her research interests are in how science and technology stretches how we think about ideas of place and humanness. Her past work examined place-making practices amongst planetary scientists and astronomers and she is currently writing a book about women in VR in LA.

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