Part 3: Setting the context

This part of the course provides the foundation for parts 4 and 5 of this study guide. It also provides abridged versions of the case studies undertaken in MIDAS that identify the key perspectives and constructs of the ‘body’, ‘the digital’ and ‘methods’ in six different research sites (three from digital arts and three from digital research in the social sciences).

Learning objectives

  • Understand the differential perspectives of notions of the ‘body’ and the ‘digital’ from across digital arts and social science
  • Explore the methodological differences and similarities in these different sites
  • Relate one or more approaches to your own work

Overall study questions:

  1. How do the case study perspectives on the ‘digital’ and the ‘body’ relate or contrast with one another?
  2. How do the methodological approaches in the case studies differ?
  3. What are the similarities across the sites in terms of methods, the digital and the body?
  4. What cross cutting themes can you see emerging?

As an introduction listen to Stelarc talk on “Interrogating embodiment, aliveness and agency in digital spaces” as part of the MIDAS Symposium and Performance (18 July 2014).

In Parts 4 and 5 of this study guide you will be looking at various themes that emerged from the MIDAS project, both methodologically and around notions of the ‘digital body’. The next three exercises aim to provide the foundation for Parts 4 & 5.

Exercise 1: Exploring theory and method in the research sites

a) Read the first section of each of the case studies from MIDAS on ‘Research and Methods’

Digital Arts sites:

Social Science sites:

b) Identify the key theoretical to methods trajectories in each one

c) Compare and contrast at least one methodological approach from the Digital Arts and one from Social Science, and map out any synergies and differences that you can identify.

d) Relate one or more of these approaches to your own work – where would you position your theoretically and methodologically, and how does this relate to these examples?

Exercise 2: Exploring notions of the digital body in the research sites

a) Read the second section of each of the case studies from MIDAS on the ‘Digital body’

b) Listen to the following podcasts from experts talking about the body in their work:

Sergi Jordà on ‘the body

Eva Hornecker on ‘the body’

c) Compare and contrast the different foci from the Digital Arts and Social Science, and map out any synergies and/or differences.

d) Relate one or more of these approaches to your own work – where would you position your notions of the digital body in relation to these examples?

Exercise 3: Thinking about technology and relationships with the body

a) Listen to experts talking about digital technology and its relation to the body: these experts are from HCI and involved in designing and developing digital technology related to bodily interaction.

Eva Hornecker’s perspective on digital technology

Sergi Jordà’s perspective on digital technology

b) Think about how their approaches and ideas can help inform your own work.