Volume 19, 2018
David Romero Martín
Art and Experiences of Embodied Disrupted Reality
The purpose of this paper is to identify the way in which art can disrupt the subject’s everyday experience of the world and self. The proposal starts from the hypothesis that art offers experiences of embodied disrupted reality, and this statement is based on the parallelism between certain artistic experiences and certain psychological conditions that are known as dissociative disorders (concretely, depersonalization and derealization), which challenge the subject’s sense of reality and self, and lead the subject to experience some level of detachment and a sense of loss of familiarity with respect to the world and the self. These aspects are also particularly felt in immersive environments. Immersive technologies (virtual and augmented reality) offer an important laboratory for perception and sensoriality, taking into consideration the embodied basis and the first-person perspective of the user-experimenter. In this context, art offers a series of strategies that allow the user to undergo a shift in experience, affecting the sense of embodiment and reality. To explore these notions, I refer to some phenomenological implications of the experience of dissociative disorders and the interrelation between art, technology, and dissociative disorders. Finally, I offer an analysis of three artistic interdisciplinary projects (“Systems,” by Briand, “Labyrinth Psychotica,” by Kanary, and “Decelerator Helmet,” by Potthast”), taking into account the particular ways of embodiment and sense of reality they trigger in the user. Based on the parallelism between art and dissociative disorders and its dialogue with immersive technologies, this article aims to contribute to a phenomenology of embodied disrupted reality from art.