Virtual Reality – Critical Reflection

This lecturer questioned reality, suggesting that there was an ideal form (Plato) and a phenomena (Kant) that is mysterious to us, but nevertheless there. Suggesting that the world we live in is an imperfect existence of the ideal. However, philosophers like Aristotle would suggest that this ideal world would stray from the truth, and is more of a fantasy than a fact. Equally George Berkeley claimed that if it is not identified by our senses then it is not a reality.


Arguably a debate that seduces us with our love of fantasy, and hope for the ideal. But increasingly apparent that it is a debate that needs scientific proof for us to distrust our senses.

Something that does however challenge reality as we know it is virtual reality. We knew this through the computer games we play, the films we watch and the photographs we see. The film ‘Arrival of a Train’ by Lumiéré brothers’ (one of the first films made, Louis LePrince was the first) made those who watched it jump, because they believed that the footage was a reality that could run them over, Similarly video games like xbox kinect and other 3d technologies. Understanding that a reality can be defined as a resemblance of something real (, then there is such things as a virtual reality. But in other definitions it can be challenged as digital technology that is Trompe l’oeil, something that immerses us.


Immersion has been researched by Oliver Grau and Robbie Copper, making us disconnect from reality and connect into something that resembles it. paintings on buildings can do this, books can do this and video games can do this. But the argument that was presented was that all digital media isn’t a truth, it is a representation of a truth, a representation of a reality, because it passes through something that alters the dynamic range, distorts it, chooses what to focus on and changes the brightness ( Some photographers change images with their own subjectivity, but other try to get their subjects to participate in the image making process to make it more truthful.



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