The Cultural Aesthetic of Virtual Reality: Simulation or Transparency

The Cultural Aesthetic of Virtual Reality: Simulation or Transparency

Ron Purser (San Francisco State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2001 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-91-9.ch009
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Abstract

The cultural significance of Virtual Reality (VR) extends far beyond the fact that it is an innovative technological device. Indeed, VR technology is embedded in, and a byproduct of, a much larger social, cultural, and scientific milieu. Changes in tehcnological devices have paralleled the shifts in the way human cultures have ordered and represented their worlds. Historically, the emergence of new technologies often provides the base for profound changes in the structure of the self, as well as radical alterations in the collective field of perception. Donald Lowe (1982), in his study, The History of Bourgeois Perception, argues that perception is shaped by a collective interplay of factors. Communication media, one of the main factors in Lowe’s theory, acts to frame and filter the way we perceive the world. Basing much of his theory on the work of Walter Ong (1988), Lowe traces shifts in culture that correspond to changes in media: from orality to chirography in the Middle Ages; from chirography to typography in the Renaissance; from typography to photography in bourgeois society; and from photography to cinema and television in the modern world.

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