ISSN: 1477965X
First published in 2003
3 issues per volume
Volume 16 Issue 1
Cover Date: March 2018
Self-styling an emotionally intelligent avatar
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Authors:  Deborah Lawler-Dormer 
DOI: 10.1386/tear.16.1.33_1

Keywords
avatar,technoscience,media arts,posthuman,transdisciplinary,art-science

Abstract
Leah, created over the last three years, is a self-styled, autonomous avatar collaboratively developed with Dr Mark Sagar at the Laboratory for Animate Technologies, Auckland Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Using ‘Leah’ as a technoscientific art case study, this paper will address the practical and theoretical considerations underlying the project, showing complex posthuman and bioethical relations. Leah is exhibited as an intra-active screen-based installation. It is the product of a shifting transdisciplinary collaborative process, involving artists, engineers, computer scientists and neuroscientists. Leah was developed as part of the Auckland Face Simulator project where adult faces are realistically and precisely modelled to show accurate expression. These can be used for neurophysiological and neuropsychological research into emotion, agency and empathy. This artwork engages with a deep questioning of the posthuman through bioengineering self-imaging practices and reflects on our co-evolution with technology.
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