[Humanist] 31.447 VR and its discontents

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Dec 2 09:55:49 CET 2017


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 447.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Zoe Schubert <zoe.schubert at uni-koeln.de>                  (46)
        Subject: Re:  31.445 VR and its discontents

  [2]   From:    Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>          (25)
        Subject: visualisation and VR


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2017 09:18:15 +0100
        From: Zoe Schubert <zoe.schubert at uni-koeln.de>
        Subject: Re:  31.445 VR and its discontents
        In-Reply-To: <20171129042446.972F06D0D at s16382816.onlinehome-server.info>


Dear Marinella,

Thank you very much for sharing this article which fits perfectly to a research question we are working on in Cologne and therefore this is of great interest for us. 

We are experimenting with VR and developing 'transformative' experiences of narrative forms from different media. That means we try to find a way to an immersive experience, far away from pretending to represent the real world.

> But Plato's Cave presupposes that those freeing the prisoner from their chains
> to reveal the true nature of 'reality' are altruistic in their intent’.

We use VR to develop a 3D world to tell a story (like a stage of a theater), without the aim to represent the true nature of 'reality‘.

One more thing: I thought about Ray Bradbury’s 'The Visitor‘ (in 'The Illustrated Man‘), which is a good example for me to show what humans might search for when they are surrounded by a world which does not offer anything. Maybe it is not the reality, but rather experiences provided for our use and to feed our mind.

Thank you and many regards,
Zoe

> Am 29.11.2017 um 05:24 schrieb Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>:
> 
>                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 445.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> 
> 
> 
>        Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2017 23:22:46 +0100
>        From: Marinella Testori <testorimarinella at gmail.com>
>        Subject: Plato and Virtual Reality
> 
> 
> Dear Willard,
> 
> I would bring to your attention the following article by Mark Riboldi about
> 'The Promise and Disappointment of Virtual Reality':
> http://lithub.com/the-promise-and-disappointment-of-virtual-reality/
> 
> There is a passage which has touched me: 'It is possible that VR does have
> the ability to change our perception of the world around us [...]. But
> Plato's Cave presupposes that those freeing the prisoner from their chains
> to reveal the true nature of 'reality' are altruistic in their intent'.
> 
> The author speaks of a 'trap' in which VR has led us, the 'trap' - if I
> have interpreted well what he says - of looking for a 'transformative'
> experience of the reality, from one side, and realizing that 'the
> technology is simply not good enough yet to simulate a truly authentic -
> and profitable- experience', from the other.
> 
> I hope the article may be of your and other readers' interest.
> 
> Thank you for your attention,
> many regards.
> 
> Marinella


--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2017 08:49:07 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: visualisation and VR
        In-Reply-To: <20171129042446.972F06D0D at s16382816.onlinehome-server.info>


Mark Riboldi's 'The Promise and Disappointment of Virtual Reality' 
raises many questions by setting VR against the history of the interests 
which fed into its development and which fed that development. So many 
visualisations/VRs are presented -- "Behold!" -- with little or no 
critical discussion of what happens when we engage with them, if we 
bother. What specifically does this or that visualisation tell us that 
we wouldn't otherwise know? Losing critical awareness in such engagement 
may be worse than viewing a visualisation uncritically from the get-go, 
but neither is good enough for real scholarly work in digital 
humanities, or so I'd think. 

But, in the former instance, what vocabulary can we draw 
upon to talk about the immersive experiences induced by visualisations 
and by VR? Indeed, when we are figuring something out, e.g. the 
significance of results from complex modelling, where do we go for the 
intellectual tools that help us understand what is happening and how to 
deal with it? Phenomenology and cognitive psychology come to mind. Any 
other disciplines? Particular recommendations of works in those and 
other useful areas of work would be very helpful and much appreciated.

Yours,
WM
-- 
Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, Department of
Digital Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western
Sydney University and North Carolina State University; Editor,
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20)




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