Virtual Worlds


Benjamin Woolley Virtual Worlds 1992
quoting Jaron Lanier
“It’s very hard to describe if you haven’t experienced it. But there is an experience when you are dreaming of all possibilities being there, that anything can happen, ad it is just an open world where your mind is the only limitation. But the problem is that it is just you, you are all alone. And then when you wake up, you give up all that freedom. All of us suffered a terrible trauma as children that we’ve forgotten, where we had to accept the fact that we are physical beings and yet in the physical world where we have to do things, we are very limited. The thing that I think is so exciting about virtual reality is that it gives us this freedom again. It gives us this sense of being able to be who we are without limitation…”


Even if we take the universal understanding of all the knowledge of which humans are capable (which grows from day to day) the totality of the universe still remains tantalisingly beyond our comprehension. It means we will never reach the end of our knowledge of the universe or universes; which means the universe is larger than humanity is capable of imagining. If we look at ever-smaller dimensions, there is no absolute limit either. The limit is only in our human experimental capacity and our understanding of the world.
We can not go back to the past (although we can remember it) what is said is said and cannot be unsaid, and we cannot experience the future, but only guess it.
ISAA Review
Volume 10 Issue 1 (2011)

Productive day today, looked into some different titles. Found alot of good research, emailed someone who is researching a similar idea relating to what happens to self when we experience different spatial realities. Hoping I get a reply. I think my title might be something like “How the virtual changed contemporary art” or “Exploring the virtual in contemporary art” or “The use of the virtual in contemporary art”, or Finally…. “The Impact of virtual reality on contemporary art”.
“Virtual communication and its impact on contemporary art”.

Just a few … I want to investigate this topic but am a bit over aware of the size of it. I don’t want to back myself in a corner with a topic that is too small or too large. Even the term virtual might not cover all that I want to look at. But then perhaps I need to narrow what I am looking at down too.
I have looked at structure and have some ideas for discussion points.

Artist influenced by the virtual.
Artist influenced by technology.
What Virtual is and what it is not.
How Virtual is being used as a tool and material.
How Virtual is being used to view art.
The conflicting relationship with virtual in art and the challenges of it.
Manovich’s theories about reality.
Our dependance on virtual communications.
Perception of virtual and space.
Ethics and Morality in virtual space.
The other in virtual space.
Security and Surveillance, the gaze in contemporary art (Who is looking at Who?)
The virus, the impact of the virus on our reality. Our perception of virtual viruses.
Future challenges of the virtual in art.
The impact of virtual communication on creativity.
Barthes 1: Death of the Author how Author/Reader works in the consumption of virtual reality.
Barthes 2: How the stadium changes in digital space.
What is reality?
J. Weed 2006 The act of consumption is free from any consequences, allowing the scene to entertain without exposing the consumer to risk. If the audience is participating does this change?

One thing I noticed really quickly was the importance of Grammar, Spelling, Structure and Clear large images in past dissertations. I might also make my dissertation accessible virtually.

I took apart a guardian article to see how it explored a topic. This has helped bring out some more ideas. One is a time period. I feel I might be better looking at this subject from 2000-present. assessing the way technology has been used in art.

Virtual reality affords incomparable access to light, space, sound, sensation, perception, visualization and disruption, all ingredients in contemporary art. “The secret, however, isn’t in the contraption,” Ippolito said.

Of course not. It’s in the concepts. The technology is available, but is waiting to be freed.

Swimming Pool


Leandro Erlich-Swimming Pool

I love how this work breaks through the formality of the space and ideas about how we should interact with art. It is an illusion but participants are aware of that illusions quickly. The people we see entering under the pool at first look strikingly uncanny. Then something more interesting happens. The space becomes informal. They play like children in the space. From above this looks unusual, slightly ridiculous but also has a feel of Gilbert and George. There is an awkward familiarity about it. Reflecting back on itself like a child, embarrassed by their parents among their peers. I feel that this piece also looks at our ideas about reality. Perhaps our ideas about the virtual. We know it is not a real physicality, we feel this interaction should be a joke we all get. We behave in an unusual way around it trying to look down on it. However it is really us that are at bottom of the pool, over acting and creating this strange otherness for all to see. This can be applied to many things from Ritzer’s Macdonalization, the experience is something we laugh at but are all participants in. Jeff Koons does something similar with kitsch but in order for Erlich’s piece to work it demands interaction.



Theodosius Dobzhansky.

1. Adaptation is the evolutionary process whereby an organism becomes better able to live in its habitat or habitats.
2. Adaptedness is the state of being adapted: the degree to which an organism is able to live and reproduce in a given set of habitats.
3. An adaptive trait is an aspect of the developmental pattern of the organism which enables or enhances the probability of that organism surviving and reproducing.

a b Dobzhansky, T.; Hecht, MK; Steere, WC (1968). “On some fundamental concepts of evolutionary biology”. Evolutionary biology volume 2 (1st ed.). New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts. pp. 1–34.
^ Dobzhansky, T. (1970). Genetics of the evolutionary process. N.Y.: Columbia. pp. 4–6, 79–82, 84–87. ISBN 0-231-02837-7.
^ Dobzhansky T. (1956). “Genetics of natural populations XXV. Genetic changes in populations of Drosophila pseudoobscura and Drosphila persimilis in some locations in California”. Evolution 10 (1): 82–92. doi:10.2307/2406099. JSTOR 2406099.

If these virtual worlds are a form of adaption to the world in which we live in, then do artist also have to adapt to use these virtual spaces. Music has become entwined with social network sites such as myspace and youtube. The songs and music videos can now reach a larger audience, but is it a more receptive audience. Conceptual art in some ways lends itself well to the webpage. Sculpture and painting may not. Some might argue that painting can be more closely observed through a website but that the true impact of a work can only be felt in a gallery. Is this something that is only true now though. As technology develops will it overtake reality in the quality and ability to study works in the same way music advancements have allowed us to experience music in a 3D way removing the scratch and skip of cd’s and vinyl. Realistically although we know experiencing music live gives a different quality, it is not possible for us to always access all the performances we want but we might be able to access a virtual gallery before the end of our lunch breaks. Perhaps without the white cube we are opening a new chapter of control over how our art is viewed without the distraction of the space itself. On the other hand is the adaption to the gallery space what makes art more interesting and challenges the artist further? If this is so then will contemporary artists take up the challenge of a virtual space not as an exclusive means to show work but as an extra dimension to the idea of space and seeing.


With the endless choices of virtual realities. Easily accesible after a few clicks, will these virtual objects, spaces and relationships become preferable to reality. At the moment these space have a look and feel the still has the tell tale signs of the computer mouse, however when photography and video develop to meet these worlds and the asthetic improves will all this change?
If we could and now can edit our virtual selves and enviroment to perfectly meet our desires then will this draw us to become enveloped in a new world of art.