part of the MSc in E-learning at the University of Edinburgh

Week 2 – Virtually real

World builder neatly illustrated how the digital brings new dimensions to virtuality, specifically the possibility to construct, interact with and change an illusionary reality rather than merely passively experience it. At the outset of the film clip the distinction between what is virtual and what is real is clear cut. The unrendered ‘prims’ are unquestionably virtual and the male character part of the real world. As the film proceeds the virtual world takes shape and appears more and more real reaching a climax when bird song is introduced. (This reminded me of Sterne’s point about virtuality not just being a visual phenomenon.) The separation of the real and the virtual become puzzling blurred when the girl enters the scene and we begin to question why she is there. She is slightly transparent so not quite real but neither does she seem to be something the ‘builder’ has constructed. Is she perhaps a memory he is conjuring up? Or perhaps this is a dream or unconscious experience he has constructed for her. For that matter do memories or dreams count as real or virtual? Is interactive virtuality solely a product of the digital? The piece ends with and interesting ethical twist – is she alive and to what extent conscious? Is he manipulating her mind via his constructions? To whose benefit?

Posted by Geraldine May Jones on October 4th, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

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