Realidades virtuais incorporadas

  • João Martinho Moura (Student)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In this research, which is born from a concern felt about the way the body engages in virtuality, we will frame artistic work addressing the different levels of physicality and immateriality of the body in virtual environments. We seek a framework for the body's relationship with the virtual space. We then take the concept of Reality-Virtuality Continuum as a starting point, postulated by Paul Milgram et al. (Milgram et al., 1994), written in the 1990s. From this concept, we seek to understand and explore the concept of embodiment in digital virtual environments and find out the different degrees of approximation/distance between the body and virtuality. For this, a set of art pieces were created and presented that, at different levels and different devices, involve digital embodiment. We seek to find the limits in the continuity line between the body and virtuality. In the process, we reflect on virtuality, using the relevant artistic and technical literature, specifically its connection to the body. Through artistic practice, we create pieces that provoke continuity and/or discontinuity; we initially imagine the limit concept in virtual virtuality, and, along the growing line to meet virtuality, we seek the delicate connection between the two planes: material and immaterial, addressing, in progress, different states of immersion or feeling of presence, which we observe are significantly associated with levels of emotional involvement. As part of this research, we developed How Computers Imagine Humans? in 2017; CO:LATERAL, between 2016 and 2019; VV in 2018; and UNA in 2020, which were presented in artistic and academic contexts. Some of these pieces put the audience into total immersion. The performative pieces (CO:LATERAL and UNA) were developed at Balleteatro, in Porto, in an artistic context and professional space. In all, they were publicly presented seventeen times, on different stages, undergoing evolutions over time, of experiences. How Computers Imagine Humans? is a piece that enters virtual virtuality, outside what we consider, in our research, the limit of the digital body. It has been presented in several countries and has served as a starting point for our investigation. VV was an intermediate piece between the performative, experimental work, presented in the context of exhibition and analysis, during four months in the gnration space, in Braga. The research is initiated with detailed reflection on embodiment in virtuality through exploratory study from various points of view and is subsequently consolidated with a continuous experimental, reflexive practice. We identified that the body, when immersed, is mostly obliterated. Being obliterated, the process of embodiment hardly happens in virtuality. The physical space in virtuality is something that, generally, was not seriously thought of by engineering, and in this research, we try to add new positions and experiences between the body and virtuality through the close interconnection between art, science, and technology. In our research, which we base, we conclude that the concepts of boundary, of the frontier, legitimately linked to physicality, are intrinsically related to the sensation of embodiment into the virtual space. Most of the works we present have a central element: a body, whether interactor, participant, captured, interpreted, generated, imagined, or teleported. We use technology, which has naturally evolved in the course of our research, and often we have retold the purpose for which this technology was designed, changing circumstances in interaction, positioning, and experience. Through art, we unveil new paths of exploration in the relationship between the body and digital virtuality.
Date of Award5 Apr 2024
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPaulo Ferreira-Lopes (Supervisor) & Maria Manuela Oliveira Barros (Co-Supervisor)


  • Media art
  • Virtual reality
  • Embodiment
  • Body
  • Interactivity
  • Virtuality


  • Doutoramento em Ciência e Tecnologia das Artes

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