Nowadays, if we would like to know more about a person, it is not surprising that our fingers would get us on a Google search, followed by a view of the person’s personal web page or LinkedIn profile. We did not reach the age of Web 2.0, which having and maintaining an “online presence” is almost deemed as a must of course. The foundations were laid out mostly around 20-30 years ago and ever since a cyberculture has emerged around cyberbodies and cyberspaces.
Two of the most famous cyberspaces which existed around the internet are the Bulletin Board Services (BBS) and Multi-User Dungeons (MUD). The BBS systems allowed people to express themselves via their so-called nicknames, without almost any restrictions, except the moderation provided by the “admin”s of the system. A primitive form of the internet forums, BBSs allowed users to have transactions and exchange of knowledge with an uncountable degree of freedom. Later, the MUD systems allowed people to actually play role-playing games over the internet, which allowed them to define their own cyberbodies. Suddenly, people claim that they are actually an Half-Elf Fighter/Thief from a medievalistic fantasy realm. The limitations over the bandwith forced artists to be creative, which created an underground art form of ASCII art, formerly known as PETSCII art in Commodore64 era. The extensive adoption of ASCII art later paves the way to the symbols that we call “emoji”s nowadays.
The sophisticated imaging techniques such as MRI scans added a new dimensionality to human representations in digital realms. In the VR work, Visual Dervish, the immersants are placed in a virtual environment, in which they are navigating through an actual MRI scan. The unique presence felt by “within-body” experience allows for a possibility of updating the body image and body schema. The remapping of body schema through such experiences might be helpful for the people who are suffering from i.e. bulimia nervosa; whose perception about their body is flawed for reasons including the body image proposed by the mass media.