Watching People Watching Immersion

My Video Project on Watching People Watching Immersion

My Video Project on Watching People Watching Immersion

In my Simulation and Immersion class at good ole GTown, I was tasked with discovering what immersion looks like. No, we’re not talking about bathtub voyeurism.  We’re talking about immersion as a state of mind.

A great example of this, which I based my project on, is from photographer Robbie Cooper. His photographs depicting children playing video games makes us think about  how the virtual can be very much a apart of the real, which becomes even more apparent when you watch his video using the same subjects from these photographs.

Robbie Cooper Pic

He was able to gather such great footage because he implanted a hidden camera directly into the center of the television being watched by his subjects. Also, the subjects gave permission to be photographed/filmed (or at least their parents did, because they all look underage).

With my project, rather than recreating Cooper’s experiment by filming the immersed, I chose to fall a bit further into the rabbit hole in order to discover what it looks like when people are watching those who are immersed while being involved in play. Did your brain explode? let me explain:

When someone is moving their fingers while watching someone play Guitar Hero or Rock Band, or when someone  groans  or cheers while watching an athlete score a goal, this is when pleasure and immersion transfer from the player of a game to the audience. What’s interesting about this is that many people react to others reacting to stimuli (play) in different ways. Some stand still, others watch the person involved in play, and some don’t even watch the person at all and choose to watch the screen instead.

The project speaks to the Magic Membrane where, according to Edward Castronova, play is permeable and can happen out side of the Magic Circle where play is said to exist in a finite space. Castronova says that turning WOW gold into real money is an example of this.

This also speaks to Jean Baudrillard’s idea of the Simulacrum as a fake space that is created within the real world but is considered real to the people who inhabit it (think of the people who inhabit Disney World in Orlando)

Brining this back to my interest in social networking and virtual participation, you can see with these projects that there is a thin line between the real and the virtual, and its becoming thinner every time connecting with technology can be accomplished indirectly through others’ interactions with technology (Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, etc.).

So if you haven’t already clicked on the image at the very top of the page, here is a link to my project. I hope you enjoy it.


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