Archives for the month of: April, 2014

“Immersion” often comes up in my work. I’m often asked what about ‘flow’ (A concept developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).

My  “notion of immersion is the sense of loss of time. The sense of being totally absorbed in an activity.

The concept differs greatly from descriptions of games as immersive because the graphics are “more life like” or more “real”.

The notion of “Flow” with it’s emphasis on peak competency bears a similar relationship to my concept of ecstatic immersion as hopping up and down does to flying. “Flow” is an attenuated experience that reflects the need to produce in contemporary capitalism: a need that reduces our lives to “an asset class” as Evgeny Morozov describes it.

Rather ectatic immersion lies as an internal, yet intersubjective state, and can occur watching a football match, singing in a choir, or playing Pacman. It has a richer relationship to experience, because it can occur, or not, in any space or time. It is the opposite of time as measured, as Heidegger discusses. If the essence of Being is time then immersion is the farthest state from the calipered experience of late capitalist time. Flow mistakes one for the other, and deploys ecstasos  against itself.

“We don’t have robots play the symphony. You could have a perfectly programmed robotic version of Beethoven’s Fifth and it will never be played more technically wonderfully than if you get it played robotically. But people want to go to the symphony. They want to go hear people interpret the music.”- Chris Hadfield

Why use aesthetics, and aesthetic experiences, liking performing music, playing games or dancing to examine what it means to be human? Or perhaps better, what it means to be ourselves? I use aesthetics because these experiences engage with our whole bodies, and they engage both emotional and mental processes(That is an ugly description of a profoundly beautiful phenomena). Moreover, we share these experiences, makers to participants to spectators, and this sharing presupposes a “Theory of Other Minds” which is the core problem that my current research is directed at.