Embodied Identity

Image: screen capture VR

Virtual Reality Project: Unreal Engine software

Embodied Identity is a virtual reality research-creation project that explores artistic interactions with digital modes of production, examining the interaction between spatial platforms that stimulate and challenge artists' perceptions and relationships to space, time, and materiality. 

Researchers Dr. Claire Brunet and Digital Futures Graduate Thoreau Bakker experiment with VR and 3D scanning technology to convey meaning inside a VR spatial context using digital sculptural referents. Sculpture/Installation undergrad Sam McGuire assisted with scan data post-processing through OCAD U Experiential Learning.

"Using body digitizing I aim to capture a person's inner strength and personality, to explore a sensory knowledge that brings life to the artwork inside a VR environment."

- Dr. Claire Brunet

Through an exploratory approach to VR the research team presents a repositioning of the ways artistic knowledge is transmitted. Most interestingly and importantly, in sculpture-installation art practice, artists' interactions with mediums and digital modes of production go beyond technical and technological characteristics to bring light to a sensory knowledge with limitless creative boundaries in view to open up to new intellectural territories and an artistic vision inspired by mutable spatial-temporal platforms.

Embodied Identity was featured as part of OCAD U's inaugural Gallery Crawl on May 10, 2018.

This project was also presented at VRTO 2018 by Dr. Claire Brunet, as a conference titled "3D Scanning to VR: Embodied Identity".
The Virtual & Augmented Reality World Conference and Expo is a unique, international exhibition, professional conference and solutions-focused symposium exploring arts, culture, society, humanities, ethics and sciences through immersive technologies.

Image from VR screen capture: white humanoid figures surround a kneeling individual
Photograph of audience attending Claire Brunet's presentation on her VR research.
Screen shot of Dr. Claire Brunet's profile on the VRTO website.
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 3:45pm
Lab Member: 
Claire Brunet

Greg Van alstyne

Greg Van Alstyne is an accomplished futurist, designer, educator and researcher with extensive experience in creative concept development, writing, visualization, art direction, and design management. His strengths include presentation, process facilitation, and team management, as well as program development, group critique, and evaluation. Greg's career spans more than twenty-five years, including interaction, communication and exhibition design, design strategy, strategic foresight and innovation consulting.

The World as Covered by Canadian News

INSTUDIO commissioned OCAD U Graphic Design student Shaheer Tarar to design and develop a project showcasing his work in data visualization.

The World as Covered by Canadian News shows the most recent satellite images from a NASA database based on news from particular locations, as reported by four of Canada’s largest newspapers.  Now in his final year of graphic design, Tarar explains that he was always very engaged in politics and his earlier work was a lot more pointed, even aggressive.  His latest work wasn’t meant to be a pointed work that makes a statement. “The point now is to take a more neutral approach,” says Tarar. “Instead of conveying pointed images to my audience, I just present them with some sort of knowledge and to make meaning out of that is left up to them.” 

“My work has taken a journalistic turn,” says Tarar, who is also Broadsheet Coordinator at OCAD U Student Press.  “I started out doing traditional graphic design, but I became far more interested in the content than the design.”  When he first started his work in data visualization, the Syrian civil war was heating up. “If there were images of any news on Damascus or Aleppo or Homs, you would see a satellite image of the city, and in some images you could see smoke plumes or destroyed parts of the city,” says Tarar.

Currently, while completing a thesis project based on Syria, what he hopes to achieve is to make a lot of geo-political issues less abstract. “When we discuss a lot of issues they feel far away, almost not real, almost incomprehensible. By pointing to real things in real time on a map, a lot of issues become ‘un-abstract.’”



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This session will be devoted to exploring the face in modern and contemporary art practice as a sort of hinge between the sensual and the affective. 

The face is the cradle of all the major sense organs: sight, sound, taste and smell and to a lesser extent touch. Through these organs, subjects sense their environment becoming attuned to subtle changes that occur constantly in it. Responding to these stimuli one might squint or grow wide-eyed; wrinkle the nose or purse the lips; one’s cheeks might blush or we might crane the neck to hear a faint sound. The face is also the cradle of identity—facial recognition technology has been around in the form of identity cards for nearly a century and beyond that it is quite simply through the face that others most commonly recognize us. The face can nonetheless give away very personal information; it is where affective and emotional states are registered and made visible sometimes even before they are named and known. Therefore, in the face reading and decoding, intuiting and apprehending are distinctly corporeal. One might use the sense organs of the face to take stock of their environment (which includes the facial expressions of those around them), or use these same parts to take stock of the self. This session will be devoted to exploring the face in modern and contemporary art practice as a sort of hinge between the sensual and the affective. How do sensual and affective registers relate to one another? At what point does a sensed experience become a shared experience and what role does the face play? How can re-thinking the face, lead to new conceptualizations of identity and the social commons? The face is a nexus of the personal and the public—involving performance and dissimulation as much as truth and transparency.  Is the facial ‘expression’ an embodied instance of promised connection and meaning or the risk of disconnect?

Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 9:15pm
Lab Member: 
Dr. Barbara Rauch
Kathleen Morris