Seung Hyun Chung

Penn Humanities Forum Undergraduate Fellow

20172018 Forum on Afterlives

Seung Hyun Chung

Executive Board, Wolf Undergraduate Humanities Forum


CAS, 2018

Seung Hyun is a senior majoring in English with minors in Asian American studies and Theatre Arts. His research interests merge critical theory and creative practice, focusing primarily in the intersection of race theory, affect theory, performance, and new media. Specifically, he is interested in theorizing how literary aesthetics complicate affective categories of shame, intimacy, and empathy as well as how those feelings can become racialized. At Penn, he serves as co-chair for the Asian American Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board and as creative director for PenNaatak Theatre Group. In his free time, he loves to binge-watch anime and take long meditative walks.  

Empathy Machine? Representation, Interactivity, and Identity Tourism in Immersive Virtual Reality

This project aims to deconstruct virtual reality as an “empathy machine” by exploring the ethical, social, and philosophical implications of experiencing new bodies and inhabiting bodies of the “other” through the burgeoning technology of immersive virtual reality (IVR). I will analyze Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell as a prime narrative text to first theorize the post-human body as a cybernetic network and apply this concept to recent development in IVR technology. Specifically, How does concepts of identity and self change when one can experience afterlives in a virtual network beyond their own, physical bodies? What issues form when one can embody the other - the minority, the racialized, and the refugee? Can one “own” virtual experiences and memories?