From the simple VR games found in upscale video arcades, to the ultimate "immersion"--the CAVE, a surround screen, surround sound system that projects 3 D computer graphics into a ten-foot high cube--virtual reality has introduced what is literally a new dimension of reality to daily life. But it is not without controversy. Indeed, some say that a collision is inevitable between those passionately involved in the computer industry and those increasingly alienated from (and often replaced by) its applications. Opinions range from the cyberpunk attitude of Wired magazine and Bill Gates's commercial optimism to the violent opposition of the Unabomber. Now, with Virtual Realism, readers have a thought-provoking guide to the "cyberspace backlash" debate and the implications of cyberspace for our culture. Michael Heim first offers a thoughtful discussion of what virtual reality is "in the strong sense." He outlines its essential characteristics -including the "Three I's" of immersion, interactivity, and information intensity--and introduces readers to such virtual reality technologies as head mounted displays; SIMNET, a networked simulation of tanks rolling over a virtual terrain; and flight simulators in which a trainee can experience conditions approximating those of actual flight. He also leads us through a fascinating gallery of virtual art experiences, including Marcos Novak's Virtual Dervish, in which the viewer wears a head mounted display and is immersed among and interacts with drifting, shifting "transhuman figures" and other virtual entities. And he describes various side effects of immersion in virtual reality, including types of relativity sickness known as Alternate World Syndrome (AWS) and Alternate World Disorder (AWD). Perhaps most important, Heim suggests ways of living with technology and harmonizing computers with culture. For instance, he offers a philosophical reconciliation between the conflicting views of "naive realists," who regard computer systems as a suppression of reality rather than an extension of it, and "idealists" who seem to think computers and software can cure all ills. Heim argues convincingly that in order to have an accurate view of the relationship between "natural nature" and cyberspace, we must balance the idealist's enthusiasm for computerized life with the need to ground ourselves more deeply in primary reality. This "uneasy balance" he calls virtual realism. In this wide ranging exploration, Michael Heim draws on an incredibly eclectic range of sources, from the lyrics of Jim Morrison, to the wisdom of the Tai Chi masters, to the works of philosophers and writers as varied as Heraclitus, Descartes, William Gibson, and Jacques Ellul. The result is an ambitious and provocative commentary on the ways in which virtual reality and associated technologies are increasingly influencing our lives.
What people are saying - Write a review
Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-Mediated Community and Technology
Limited preview - 1998
Michael Heim (1998). Virtual Realism.
Virtual Realism. By Michael Heim Oxford: Oxford University Press (1998) pp. 162-167, 171 … Osmose. A screen saver aglow on a monitor with a pretty nature ...
www.immersence.com/ publications/ 1998-MHeim.html
Hohlwelt - Reading - Michael Heim
Virtual Realism "Between the future shock of network idealists and naïve ... It is the peaceful road of virtual realism. Ten signposts mark the way." ...
www.hohlwelt.com/ en/ books/ mheim01.html
Michael R. Heim: Essays, Books, Music, Links
Essays, books, links, and music by Michael R. Heim
Virtual Realism by Michael Heim at Questia Online Library
From the simple VR games found in upscale video arcades, to the ultimate "immersion"--the CAVE, a surround screen, surround sound system that projects 3 D ...
www.questia.com/ library/ book/ virtual-realism-by-michael-heim.jsp
Michael Heim -- Virtual Realism
Virtual Realism is a fascinating exploration of virtual reality in conceptual terms. Particularly interesting is Heim’s analysis of “first-person,” tunnel ...
www.ryerson.ca/ ~ipederse/ Heim.htm
RCCS: View Book Info
Steven Schneider's kind and thoughtful review of Virtual Realism makes me want ... Similarly, Virtual Realism has since branched into areas that were only ...
<nettime> Michael Heim: Virtual Realism
Abstract: "Virtual Realism" Contemporary culture exhibits an increasingly polarized spectrum of attitudes toward virtualization. ...
www.nettime.org/ Lists-Archives/ nettime-l-9806/ msg00026.html
In his latest book, Virtual Realism, Michael Heim builds on and extends his ... He advocates "virtual realism" as a philosophy to aid us in a balancing the ...
www.december.com/ cmc/ mag/ 1998/ aug/ ferris.html
A VIRTUAL REALIST PRIMER TO VIRTUAL WORLD DESIGN Mikael Jakobsson
In Virtual Realism he develops the idea of a middle path between the .... gated in Virtual Realism but in a later comment on the book Heim admits that this ...
www.informatik.umu.se/ nlrg/ primer.pdf
Le magazine électronique du CIAC
As Michael Heim points out in his book Virtual Realism, engineers and .... Michael Heim, Virtual Realism, New York/Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998, ...
www.ciac.ca/ magazine/ archives/ no_11/ en/ dossier.html