The Social and Technical Anatomy of Digital Bodies
Edited By Jaime Banks
Introduction: (Dis)Assembling the Avatar (Jaime Banks)
| 1 →
(Dis)Assembling the Avatar
Arms outstretched, legs prone, buck naked, and staring intensely, Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man sketch is the ink-and-paper manifestation of his philosophy that certain proportions and geometries are divine blueprints for the human body and for the universe more broadly (Lester, 2012). In the iconic image, the artist-scientist1 depicted ideal human proportions based on the principles of the architect Vitruvius (c. 1480/1914): a palm is four fingers, a foot is four palms, a cubit is six palms, four cubits make a pace, a man is 24 palms. The anatomical diagram is the combined output of his scientific readings, his own scientific observations and artistic interpretations, and the shared da Vincian-Vitruvian philosophy that divine geometries are the foundations of humanity, its creations, and the universe. “Man is the model of the world,” he noted—reflected in its corporeal microcosm are the mountains (in bones), the tides (in pulse), and the elements (in organs; Schneer, 1983). By some accounts, humans can’t help but look at the world through such androcentric metaphors and parallels—we only understand what it is to be human so we apply human frameworks to nonhuman things to understand our world and our place in it (Bogost, 2012).
In the case of videogames, digital worlds, and other interactive media, these frameworks are often applied to avatars: digital bodies that extend a user’s presence and agency into digital...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.