Corporeal TV: Agency and Embodiment in Teleculture

Ingrid Richardson, Media, Culture and Communication, Murdoch University


Heidegger has argued that the condition of being-in-the-world is characterised primarily by being-with-equipment: we perceive and experience always-already within domains of equipment, and all tools belong within an environmental or world relation. Such a phenomenological perspective suggests an ontological consonance between bodies and technologies.

In this paper I take a critical look at this coincidence of bodies and technologies in contemporary culture, by way of phenomenology, corporeal feminism and various other body-theories. The rendering of technologies as exo- and endo-somatic organs, and the understanding of techno-somatic organs as sites of agency, is a way of antagonising the apparent disembodying effects of modern technologies, and of critically assessing their perceptual biases.

Our experiences of time, mobility, distance, and the material limits of bodies and objects are altered by tele-technologies such as the telephone, the television and various other telecommunications technologies. We are familiar with the notion that tele-media overcome spatial and perceptual limitations usually associated with the body, or that they work as extensions of our sensorium, yet less comfortable with the idea that bodies themselves change and adjust in medium specific ways. It is the possible re-rendering of embodiment in the context of televisual experience that I want to explore in this paper.

New: 2 October, 2001 | Now: 6 May, 2015