In his article "The Avatar as a Methodological Tool for an Embodied Exploration of Virtual Environments" Kris Pint proposes a theoretical framework for the analysis of environments which cannot be entered physically because they are fictional, inaccessible, or destroyed. As phenomenology has already emphasized, the analysis of space has to take into account the bodily involvement of the researcher. Pint introduces the notion of the avatar to compensate for the impossibility of actually accessing the aforementioned spaces. Borrowed from game design, the avatar allows us to include this bodily aspect in the exploration of virtual environments, without neglecting the specific characteristics of an immersion in a virtual space. The aim is to make the avatar operational as a research tool by combining Roland Barthes's use of fantasy in his theory of reading with a reinterpretation of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's notions of the conceptual persona and the aesthetic figure. To illustrate this research method, Pint uses a number of avatars related to the fantasy of not-belonging to explore the virtual environments of modernist architecture, literature, and painting.
"The Avatar as a Methodological Tool for the Embodied Exploration of Virtual Environments."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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