VR and Ethics

This is an article on The Ethics of Virtual Reality from 1992. It covers the main problematics of the concept in philosophy and ethics. It elaborates on the cultural and technical dimension of VR and introduces various points of view. A short quote:

“Virtual reality therefore has the effect of reality upon us, though we recognise that it is not properly real. VR is best described as a simulation, as opposed to a representation (Baudrillard, 1983). If I make a model of something, say a chair, then my model is a representation if I never lose my belief that it is the original chair that is the real object. On the other hand, if I make a model of something, say the surface of the moon, and in navigating the imaginary terrain I come to believe that the model is real, then I am in a simulation. The term “virtual reality” is a precise expression of this latter concept for we are, at the same time, admitting the fact that we have created a model (which is unreal) and admitting that we are treating it as reality.

The significant point about this definition is that VR is essentially subjective. VR is an experience and not a piece of technology. I can curl up with a good novel and claim to be in virtual reality, whilst I can don the most expensive headset and data glove yet remain perfectly aware of the fakeness of what I observe. This is important because it follows from this definition that many symbolic structures in society can be viewed as “virtual reality” (for example, cases where a computer model of an organisation does not reflect the underlying reality). We must therefore understand virtual reality as being the expression of a deep philosophical problem caused by our commitment to symbolic structures whose existence now obscures the reality of the underlying object.”



Prewriting for dimensional film

Paintings such as L’Absinthe by Degas inspired me on the notion of exploring the canvas as space.

I firstly looked at the glass of Absinthe. Then at the absent look of the woman. Then I realised the tables she and the man are sitting on didn’t have legs., Suddenly the tables surfaces were floating.

In the process of working on scripts and stories for dimensional storytelling I enjoyed developing ambients and constructing places and spaces through text.

Dry wind

In a granite city far away live friendly people, passionate to sing and think and look for answers. A chain of mountains covers their horizon. They have as closest friends the city statues.
The statues are of human size and form, except the one atop the central fountain which has the shape of big and silent fish. The white stone figures decorate the city but also populate it. They often come to life and walk the streets to meet with young and old, to share ideas, laugh and talk.
The only wind that swirls the streets is dry and fast. Statues don’t like it and are always frozen while it lasts. That is also the reason this wind is left without a name. People believe it carries songs from city to city.
The bond between people and statues is of a particular importance to both. The first consider the second as their guides in understanding and loving existence and as protectors from the unknown. The second do not see, hear or feel one another and cannot communicate if not with the help of the first who transmit their messages. This is how ancient stories are never forgotten in this place.
One day a giant volcano in the mountain erupts and its lava splashes down through the streets and houses covering every corner of the stone city. People are caught by surprise and cannot escape. Fast dry wind bursts for two weeks.
When statues wake up and search for their fellow man all they find is frozen figures and silent faces.
Since then they wander the streets and on a windy day one can hear them sing.

Imagine being a spectator in the middle of this square.

Exploring Space

What I like about images in space is the fact that our brain needs more time to explore and understand them. There is literally a little cubic part in the backside of our brain that reconstructs through approximation the dimensions of the space we are in. This is an evolutionary function related to survival, i.e. defining what is the distance between me and a dangerous animal. It involves our peripheral vision in the exploration of the landscape, therefore it takes more time to understand than a flat 2D image. That is why if 3D image editing is fast, i.e. scenes change too rapidly, it will become incomprehensible. I connect this to the speed of learning and exploring, and the type and quality of knowledge that can be transmitted through film. I enjoy editing in the frame, revealing a mis en scene and building up notions through space, therefore the aesthetics of 3D mediums is very suited for people like me, who are also interested in theatre and performances.

An Introduction to Stereo 3D Cinema