A New Tangibility

Cyberpunk, it sounds like a sex pistols fan sporting a Robocop cosplay doesn’t it? I mean, it is a reference to Victorian age dystopia, where evolution of the world was feared to be completely dominated by artificial intelligence – so who’s to say it isn’t Robocop playing some Sex Pistols?  Ol’ mate Willliam Gibson, a Canadian writer who loves Johnny Mnemonic and wrote Neuromancer believed that VR was as if it was a hallucination, stating that Virtual Reality is “a consensual hallucination experienced daily by millions of legitimate operators. … A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding. (Gibson 1984: 67)”].

I tend to have a different view, more closely correlating to an immersion: “referring to the level of physical or psychological submergence of a user within a virtual space relative to that user’s consciousness of the real-world environment” (Emma-Ogbangwo, C., Cope, N., Behringer, R. and Fabri, M., 2014.), rather than taking a drug – similar to an acid trip. The notion that VR or cyberspace is merely a hallucination is questionable, as when we reach the full bounds of VR it’ll be flawless, in 4K, 120hz, a frame rate of 60fps; lifelike. Instead of us merely being in our room and wearing a set of goggles, it will hopefully become synonymous with an escape to another world. VR is heavily reliant on “user believability” which has led to an increasing interest in Natural User Interface (NUI), a concept that suggests coherent and intuitive interactions with the virtual environment – hence becomes less of a hallucination as Gibson suggests but more of an immersion.

Intertwined with my 360 degree film/virtual reality, the immersion theory would theoretically be more effective, in that it can help the user empathise with the user on a higher level, rather than it be a solution, feeling as though it’s not reality – what flawless VR can help us do is understand this concept of immersion and open multiple avenues for which stories will be told, much more vividly and believable.


Emma-Ogbangwo, C., Cope, N., Behringer, R. and Fabri, M., 2014. Enhancing user immersion and virtual presence in interactive multiuser virtual environments through the development and integration of a gesture-centric natural user interface developed from existing virtual reality technologies. In HCI International 2014-Posters’ Extended Abstracts (pp. 410-414). Springer International Publishing.

One thought on “A New Tangibility

  1. 360 degree film VR could be a great tool to utilise in documentaries. No matter what you do to a film, it’s still going to be just that: a film, the story is played in a certain order which makes you the observer by nature because you don’t have control over that. It could be an interesting way to present documentaries however because it could present itself in a way where the viewer feels like they are discovering it themselves. Some more thoughts on this can be found in this article (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jan/29/virtual-reality-documentary-middle-man-journalism-chris-milk-film)


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