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Title: Reality kicks back : Representions of virtual reality
Author: Chan, Melanie A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2687 489X
Awarding Body: Leeds Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Leeds Beckett University
Date of Award: 2007
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This study examines representations of virtual reality within Western and Westernised culture. Particular attention will be given to the 1980s and 1990s when representations of virtual reality were prolific. Semiotic analysis will be used as a theoretical tool with which to study these representations in order to question such concepts as simulacra, simulation, hyperreality, the virtual and the real. This study has some interdisciplinary aspects as it draws upon representations of virtual reality in art history, cultural studies, film studies, computer science, cognitive science and philosophy. Three case studies are presented to provide an in-depth exploration of representations of virtual reality, these are: Neuromancer (1986), a science fiction novel by William Gibson, The Matrix (dir. A. & L. Wachowski, 1999), a major Hollywood Film and Osmose (1995) and Ephemere (1998) by Char Davies, which are virtual works of art. During this study attention is given to the relationships between perception, embodiment and virtual reality in order to move beyond binary notions of the mind versus the body. Upon investigation representations of virtual reality indicate that there is a sense of ambivalence surrounding this technology, particularly in relation to embodiment. In some instances there are claims that the body can be repressed or somehow denied; whilst in some cases the human body is denigrated as 'meat'. There are even calls for a post embodied and possibly post-human existence via immersion in virtual reality environments. Countering these dismissals of embodiment this study calls for a returned emphasis on the body as the ground of human experience. Embodiment cannot be repressed or denied; it is central to the immersive and interactive experiences that are made possible by virtual reality technology. In summary it is possible that embodiment both encompasses signification and interaction in virtual environments and the world around us.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available