Adamant Bodies. The Avatar-Body and the Problem of Autoempathy

Adriano D'Aloia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay examines the relationship between the player and the avatar, but his question regards how we relate to others’ avatars and players. The avatar, a digital incarnation of the Self, “is the embodied manifestation of the player’s engagement with the game-world”; “it incorporates the player and disciplines his/her body”. The avatar is the means – the position – by way of which the player is able to function as an actant in the virtual world. It is not a fracture with the Self, but an extension to another oneself. But this redoubling (dual actant) interferes in the relationship of the player with Otherness (“the actual/virtual Other as a whole”): social relations in virtual worlds are actually intra-subjective, “wholly played out within the pole of Selfness”. After showing that the visual perspective commonly used to access virtual environments is semi-subjective, D’Aloia argues that this does not allow a truly empathic connection with Otherness. Technological mediation frustrates the communication of emotions, and this is strengthened by the limitations of simulated worlds – whereas cinema, for example, has developed sophisticated techniques that, in part at least, overcome this issue. The bodily-enforced experience of computer games seems to have its own specific drawbacks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoemapthy
  • Autoempatia
  • Empathy
  • Empatia
  • Second Life
  • Videogame


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