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Christian Ferencz-Flatz, “Screened Intercorporeality. Reflections on Gestures in Videoconferences”, Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 2022

This article brings a phenomenological perspective to the question of how bodily and inter-bodily experience is involved in interacting via audio-visual media like videoconferencing platforms. Contemporary discussions in interaction studies point to a certain suspension of bodily involvement in these mediated interactions, which leads to a visible loss of function in the case of gestures. Such observations have led phenomenologists to voice concern as to whether phenomenology is indeed still suited to account for the “digital world” in general. The following article addresses these concerns by first making the case for a phenomenological understanding of gestures, which develops Merleau-Ponty’s notion of intercorporeality by drawing from an intersubjective reading of Husserl’s threefold analysis of the body (aesthesiological, kinaesthetic and orientational). Subsequently, these reflections are used to describe the modifications, which occur when interacting “through” the screen in videoconferences, by showing that they are not just privative in nature.