Colm Whelan

Avatar’s Living Network

Year: 2014

Keywords: , , , ,


National University of Ireland, Galway
(at time of presentation)

Personal profile:

I am currently undertaking a structured 4 year research PhD in the areas of film studies and philosophy (relating to the philosophy of presence). I intend to focus on the Occupy Wall Street movement and James Cameron’s Avatar as cultural phenomena relating to the emergence of a meaning that is primarily rooted in presence. Having completed my Masters on a similar topic, I wish to expand it and make it a novel approach to both fields of study. I have given a number of papers based in this area and feel that this conference is another invaluable addition.



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The aim of this paper is to look at James Cameron’s Avatar as an example of a network of presence-objects. Avatar highlights a new space involving text and audience as equal parts of the same object unfolding simultaneously. Avatar is highly coded with elements of network living: the Na’vi people physically connect to their surroundings, not to use them, but to be them; to become equal parts of the overall operations of the object system. The text, due to the motion capture and 3D technologies, becomes a network in which the viewer is enmeshed (relating to the use of 3D glasses). I want to look at how this form of objet-network offers up an equality of viewing between subject/object/text/technology and how a meaning based in the presence of the network offers up a new mode of physical understanding.