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ADS8: Data Matter – The Gaming Edition

Raluca Moldoveanu

Raluca’s practice regards design as a catalyst for social cohesion, which can serve as a drive for new communal infrastructures. Her work is centred on visual arts and narrative, with an interest in film, exhibition design, interactive installations and digital technologies, addressing a concern for digitisation of physical processes. Raluca’s current work explores a denial of adhering to pre-established rules for corporeal representation, and further spatial implications that such representations have.

Originally from Romania, Raluca has completed her undergraduate studies in Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, followed by a professional background which includes educational, cultural and community projects. During her time in practice, Raluca has also been involved in multiple educational volunteering projects, including OpenCity, RIBA Architecture Ambassadors and RIBA Mentoring scheme.

I consider the body as both a site and a sight, register of, and actor within the social and political realities within which it is situated. ‘The Cybergaze: On the digitisation of corporeality, space and feminist practices’ explores the use of feminist premises in order to expand our understanding of bodily representation as a medium for progressing the methodology surrounding design of digital spaces.

As bodies affect and are affected by their immediate context, whether digital or physical, representation is key in reflecting over the embedded issues within the built environment in relation to corporeality. Disruptive mechanisms that allow for the representation of non normative body should be created, as well as spaces that allow for glitching bodies to resist perfect functioning. The body should begin to express itself in resistance to standardised spatiality. Thus, the project asks: what are the methods in which the cybergaze can refuse the pre-established biases and offer a neutral observation point for the female body through a critical engagement with both environments and bodies designed within digital softwares?  

Drawing connections between representation and behaviour, a strategic occupation of the tools that make up environments which further perpetuate biases of the physical world is proposed. Intervening within the structure of digital space, by defining different ways of reacting to a simulated environment, conditions of our physical built surroundings are uncovered. In the process of redefining the space of the domestic through a translated physical experience within the digital, disrupting tools of spatial design reflect on traditional bodily representation and how that can be rejected in such space.

Film Still [00:57]
Film Still [01:15]
Film Still [04:55]
Film Still [04:02]
Film Still [05:07]
Film Still [05:29]

Digital space offers the opportunity to refuse the current rigid depictions of bodies, as well as predetermined interactions of such bodies with the space. The scope of the project is to test the possibility to overcome the instinct to follow the same standards established in the real world when designing digital space, under the umbrella of a feminist methodology.

My main project outcome consists in the development of a morphing avatar of myself, building up on methods of digital representation, and also in the spatial navigation of such character’s immediate architectural context and the design and curation of such environment. The avatar and its spatial interaction are presented as a film, exploring a culmination of digitally translated physical experiences in regards to corporeality, in order to contrast between the possibilities and limitations of both worlds. 

The digital environment is reflecting on the space I inhabit, which is in turn the space my corporeality operates within. So, the domestic, a space of exteriorisation of the self, dominated by the sphere of the private and intimate, stands as base for uncovering the politically charged narrative of the project.

Medium:

Film Stills

Size:

1920 × 1080
Film Still [01:15]
Film Still [06:55]
Film Still [07:35]

As digitally assembled spaces and corporealities offer a hyperreal engagement with the medium of construction, the project employs translations of physicalities in the digital space, in order to mediate the two and embrace the glitched outcomes of the realm of negotiation. The dynamic nature of the environment, as well as the constantly morphing aspect of the represented character follows themes of identity in connection to gender and unfixity of IRL and URL selves. 


Medium:

Film Stills

Size:

1920 × 1080
Film Still [08:30]
Film Still [08:05]
Film Still [07:50]
Film Still [08:52]

The ‘Gaze’ is used as a navigation tool of the digital environment, referencing the subjective nature of experiences, as well as used to highlight and exaggerate inconsistencies of day to day environments, depicting a reflection on current gendered issues. 

The translated domestic landscape engages with objects in relation to social constructs, reflecting on everyday objects such as mirrors and concepts of identity and vanity, laptops and notions of digital connectivity, TVs and idea of connection with media and culture. The use of some of the stated above objects supports the intrinsic nature of biases which has become embedded seamlessly into our daily routines. Such objects, embodying cultural and social significance are used to shape a narrative weaving through different definitions of selfhood in relation to inhabitation practices.


Medium:

Film Stills

Size:

1920 × 1080
Speculative Film

The final moving image piece is gradually exposing controlled glimpses of the space and of the body, as a patchy digital world is unfolded. The resolution of the scans increase as the narratives develops, to a culmination of a hyperreal digital environment, where objects of social construct significance stand witness to the reiteration of biases inherent to the virtual realm. Through repurposing constraints existing in the current construction of digital environments, the speculative piece proposes an unpredictable interaction of the body within digital space, where both have the potential to be challenged.


Medium:

Film

Size:

1920 × 1080 [09:20]
Research Film
Research Journal

The construction of digital bodies is intrinsic to the design of digital and physical space, which are further inherently biased through their development. But the digital body has the opportunity to refuse the current rigid depiction, through a denial of adhering to preestablished rules for corporeal representation, as such representation is heavily influenced by common design methods of digital space (which is in turn based on physical space).

Thus, the tendency to design digital space in the same way as we design physical space is flawed, as bodies in digital environments experience space differently. As avatars only exist in digital environments, both their construction and spatialisation does not necessarily need to adhere to physical rules for the definition of space. Why is it that our default instinct is to follow the same standards established in the real world when we design digital corporeality and environments?