Our current technologies, namely the Internet and mobile devices, are numbing our biological self through a form of what Marshall McLuhan referred to as "self-amputation." This talk will be a creative exploration of how embodied, bio-adaptive games and multi-media art practices can recuperate the biological self by re-activating the peripheral nervous system to enhance our social-emotional attunement. Together, we will examine a variety of embodied biotechnologies, which re-engage the body in kinesthetic immersion, coupled with wearable, open source sensors to speculate on effective antidotes to the “intellectual technologies” eroding our knowledge-schemas and emotion-feeling cycles. Part demonstration, part design fiction, part collaborative think tank, the session will also unravel the theoretical concepts of embodied cognition and complexity theory to better understand how they can be applied to the design of future pervasive game-based experiences that optimize our ability to "experience our own intensity."
Heidi Boisvert is a new media artist, game designer, experimental filmmaker, writer and educator based in New York. She was formerly the Multi-Media Director at Breakthrough, a global human rights organization, where she designed, developed and virally propagated a wide range of new media and pop culture campaigns that helped raise awareness and instigate policy change on pressing social issues. She created the first 3D social change game, ICED I Can End Deportation, to shift the frame around unfair U.S. immigration policies. Heidi taught Digital Media & Media Studies at Hunter College, and launched a free digital media program for low-income youth through Time Warner & NOAA funding. Her latest initiative, America 2049, a groundbreaking alternative reality game on Facebook about pluralism, featuring Harold Perrineau (LOST), Victor Garber (ALIAS), Cherry Jones (24), Anthony Rapp (RENT) and the comedian Margaret Cho has been featured in Kotaku, TIME, Wired, Salon, Fast Company, Washington Post, and Huffington Post, and nominated for a Games for Change Award and Katerva Award. Most recently, Heidi founded and serves as the CEO and Creative Director of the futurePerfect lab, a boutique creative agency that works with non-profits, cultural and educational institutions to develop imaginative and playful applications of integrated media and emerging technology. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Electronic Arts program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.