“Are You in Your Body?!”. The Study of Biopolitical Interface Design
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computer games
digital sensibility
body imagination

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Lenkevich, A. (2021). “Are You in Your Body?!”. The Study of Biopolitical Interface Design. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 3(2), 141-165. https://doi.org/10.46539/gmd.v3i2.160


The article considers biopolitical design of interfaces in terms of computer games: the player's body is constructed with the help of a variety of technical instances that support gameplay (for instance, gamepads, haptic controllers, virtual reality devices). Through the interaction with interfaces, the new patterns of sensuality are formed, namely, the new forms of tactile communication with media. The article demonstrates the distinction between the representation of biopolitical processes in games (for instance, in Plague. Inc. and Bio. Inc.) and the process of incorporating biopolitical procedures into technical gaming devices, and through them into our bodies and lifestyle. The setting and narratives of games often tend to rely on biopolitical images. However, the processes that take place in our body during the game are more important than those that are presented on the screen: the new controllers increasingly take into account the physical state of the player in order to regulate the level of difficulty, promising not only entertainment but also care. The article raises the question of what the body feels and does not feel when it is included into the game, since the existing interfaces and controllers allow us to simulate a complex perceptual experience which includes not only audiovisual elements, but also touch, smell and so forth. After all, the (self-) control practices embedded in game controllers allow us to view them as technical dispositives through which we master the bodies of the future. The author of the article proposes the concept of a “touch-image" which captures a new dimension of hi-tech sensibility.

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