11 Representing Virtuality.docx

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Communication, Culture and Technology
Neil Narine

11 Representing Virtuality What is Virtual Reality and what is real?  Everything that can be an object of our internal perception is virtual, like the image produced in a telescope in a telescope by the passage of light-rays  Freud, the Interpretation of Dreams  From Telescope to Camera o Are the camera’s images virtual?  Man with a Movie Camera (1929) o Already people manipulated images to create ‘special effects’: not reality as it was  Pictures of the ‘Unreal’ o BUT we know that cameras today produce images that are not even representations of reality o Rather, they ‘conjure’ an image of something that does not exist – women in ads often do not exist! o The images we capture now are not even representations of reality  Are pictures virtual? o Yes – the images are not real landscape but a representation (a virtual reality) o No – the images exist as photo paper, prints, slides for projection, etc. (they exist in reality) o No – images show something that must be there, or have been there  So how do we define the false ‘reality’ that media culture presents?  Defining Virtual Reality o 1) Virtual reality refers to an electronic system which is designed to create a simulated environment around the viewer o 2) An illusion created by computer hard-ware and software that fools users into thinking they are somewhere else De Lauretis  eXistenZ (1999)  A reflection of the new technologies of postmodernity – information, communication, and biotechnologies and new interactive media (de Lauretis, 2003, 547)  Are we still in the game? o Allegra and Ted, in ‘real life’ a happily partnered couple, turn out to be th
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