University Of Tasmania
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Virtual perspective: the aesthetic lineages of immersive experience

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 19:40 authored by Asher WarrenAsher Warren
By a number of measures, the latest wave of virtual reality technologies has generated considerable excitement. The 2014 acquisition of Oculus VR by Facebook for $2 billion (US) offers us one way to quantify this excitement, as does the increasing media coverage of these new technologies. These investments speak to the belief that technological progress (greater processing power, smarter sensors, etc.) might resurrect the dreams of virtual reality that surfaced decades ago. While much attention has been focused on the technologies that might deliver immersive experiences, this paper explores the underlying promises of virtual reality themselves within a larger historical and cross-disciplinary context. Drawing on the history of the theatre, this paper considers the aesthetic vision for immersive experience that emerges during the industrial revolution in Wagner’s Bayreuth Festspielhaus, and continues today in the experiences curated by contemporary immersive theatre practioners. It is through the theatre, I argue, that we might better understand the possible future directions of VR, and alternative critical perspectives from which to approach immersive experiences.


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School of Creative Arts and Media


Swinburne University of Technology

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Copyright 2018 The Author. Originally published by Refractory.

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

The performing arts