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Virtual perspective: the aesthetic lineages of immersive experience


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Warren, A ORCID: 0000-0003-0002-5753 2018 , 'Virtual perspective: the aesthetic lineages of immersive experience' , Refractory, vol. 30 , pp. 1-16 .

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By a number of measures, the latest wave of virtual reality technologies has generated considerable excitement. The 2014 acquisition of Oculus VR by Facebook for $2 billion (US) offers us one way to quantify this excitement, as does the increasing media coverage of these new technologies. These investments speak to the belief that technological progress (greater processing power, smarter sensors, etc.) might resurrect the dreams of virtual reality that surfaced decades ago. While much attention has been focused on the technologies that might deliver immersive experiences, this paper explores the underlying promises of virtual reality themselves within a larger historical and cross-disciplinary context. Drawing on the history of the theatre, this paper considers the aesthetic vision for immersive experience that emerges during the industrial revolution in Wagner’s Bayreuth Festspielhaus, and continues today in the experiences curated by contemporary immersive theatre practioners. It is through the theatre, I argue, that we might better understand the possible future directions of VR, and alternative critical perspectives from which to approach immersive experiences.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Warren, A
Keywords: virtual reality, immersion, theatre, aesthetics
Journal or Publication Title: Refractory
Publisher: Swinburne University of Technology
ISSN: 1447-4905
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 The Author. Originally published by Refractory.

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