bloc // January 3, 2000

Virtual Reality: Immersion and the Virtualisation of Lived Experience ⁄⁄

Date: April 1999
Venue:Chapter Arts Centre
Partner: Chapter Arts Centre |
Partner: |

This meeting asks: Is virtual reality new? Should cyberspace simulate reality?


The term `virtual reality` has arisen due to digital developments which render three dimension spaces in which a `user` can visually wander using an interface (joystick or mouse). `Immersive VR` allow users to look around a virtual space using a headset and manoeuvre virtual objects using data gloves. The correlation between bodily movements and represented space is claimed to enhance a sense of physical immersion and therefore presence.

Alternatively, the aboundment of real spaces that are representations or imitations of spaces (facades, theme parks, vacation `villages`) are also claimed to virtualise real experiences. These spaces are free from technological limitation such as motion lag as well as provide the ground plane/peripheral vision required to aid our comprehension of space – functions that in immersive VR are technically very expensive.

Can we differentiate between the real and the virtual or the real and the imaginary? Historically, art has been concerned with spatial representations that virtualise reality – from early perspective painting to installations. Finally this meeting asks what are the benefits of virtual reality technologies to contemporary fine art practice?


Kate McCluskey | Researcher into virtual reality technologies at the Royal College of Art

Sarah Chaplin
| Leader of MA Digital Architecture at Middlesex University

Anne Hayes |