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Tampere University, Finland

Funded PhD position / Tampere University, Finland: Technologically Augmented Embodiment in Contemporary Theatre and Performance [in CONVERGENCE project]

CONVERGENCE of HUMANS and MACHINES project at the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences at Tampere University is looking for a Doctoral Researcher to work on the topic of Technologically Augmented Embodiment in Contemporary Theatre and Performance, along with 15 more doctroal students!

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Check out the Convergence video: 

Position description:

This transdisciplinary doctoral research fuses performing arts, emergent media, computer science, engineering, and related theory. It offers an unparalleled opportunity for creating new performing art forms and innovative technology, seeking to foresee the future of performing arts and technology. The research explores the limits of what is possible when performing arts and technology meet through sophisticated solutions.

The project examines how the embodied experience and physical performance – prevailing in a theatrical event and performative encounters – can be shaped and extended by means of digital technologies and technologically augmented environments. Moreover, it investigates ways in which technological solutions could be critically examined and developed through embodied research in performing arts. By means of combining artistic research with electrical engineering and information technology, the project aims to create a platform on which the phenomena of embodiment, extended reality and multimodal interaction can be studied creatively in a controllable environment. Taking place at the intersection of the above-mentioned areas, the project will produce in-depth understanding which may provide them with transferable knowledge and new applicable solutions.

In this research, theatre is understood as a wide range of contemporary performative forms and practices that take place both on the traditional stage and in alternative spaces. This kind of theatre is constituted by the diverse materialities, agencies and technologies it entails, and characterized by an augmented and assemblage-like conception of embodiment and the performer. The doctoral research project may be linked to, e.g., immersive cinema, general human-computer interaction, interactive virtual world generation, collaborative virtual and augmented environments, autonomous robotics, and gamification. 

Tentative Research problems/questions: 

The doctoral researcher may choose to focus on one or several of the following approaches to technologies:

  • How technology (e.g., sensors, sensor networks, actuators, interfaces, smart utensils, or smart-wear) is used to affect, stimulate, and extend the performer and their performance or to transpose them into a virtual world, 
  • How technological solutions are used to examine the interaction between different materialities, embedded in smart environments and performance space,
  • How technology directs and activates the spectators’ experience and attention,
  • How technology produces and sustains the performativity of everyday life (e.g., algorithms measuring individual wellbeing, social platforms developing multiple identities),
  • How technology should not be used: What are the limits of augmentation?

Project background

Convergence of Humans and Machines is a new research field that brings together academics from Social Sciences & Humanities and Technology & Engineering to train the next generation of Doctoral Expertise and address future challenges and opportunities of multidisciplinary Convergence of Humans and Machines. Convergence is funded by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.

Convergence is based on the premise that, on the one hand, people are increasingly integrated with technology and our culture and practices are increasingly dictated by information technology. On the other hand, machines are becoming more alive, creative, and dynamic. In other words, human and machine are converging. The project has emerged from the need to redefine and renegotiate the roles of human and machine in society and from the need of cross-disciplinary collaboration understand this rising area. 

Read more about this and other positions in CONVERGENCE at: 

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