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Accepted Paper:

Riding tools for spiritual and virtual excursions  
Jung Yeon Kim

Paper short abstract:

Spiritual incarnation and bodily presence felt through the tools of Virtual Reality and religious ritual.

Paper long abstract:

In Korea, we interviewed a VR-content developer, the success of whose re-educational VR therapy helps patients paralysed by cerebral strokes. Using simple video game effects based on mirror therapy, he aims to multiply and perfect the therapeutic contents.Being a Christian, he considers it a valid way to serve and worship God. In some Korean churches, we see a religious use of VR goggles, which allow people to participate in Sunday services, worshiping God with an enhanced feeling of presence of « being there, where God is ».

On the other hand, we have assisted in traditional shamanic rituals that are being forgotten, and marginalised. Condemning Christianity’s « religious monopolisation », a shaman was conducting the ritual of Jack-dou an assemblage of two sharpened blades. Literally the shaman ‘rides the blades’, implying an incarnation of spirits through his body and also as means of « transportation » in order to connect with a spiritual world.He confesses to feeling the presence of spirits, fully incarnated in himself, which become intrinsically real for him.

These two tools focus equally on « feelings of presence » no matter their methodological process : manipulation of human consciousness or spirit incarnation through the human body, to “transport” individuals to the desired place, whether physical well-being or spiritual communion.Guided by these two tools, our paper would deliberate on the confrontation between mind and body : the tendency to virtual dematerialisation of religious practice and traditional rituals in a new era’s focus on material proofs.

Panel P111b
Being there - but how? On the transformation of presences II
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -