Virtual Realism

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Oxford University Press, Apr 13, 2000 - Computers - 264 pages
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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 offers a comprehensive introduction to virtual reality and a provocative commentary on its present and future impact on our lives. Heim describes the fascinating and important industrial and military uses of virtual reality, as well as its artistic and entertainment applications. He argues that 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.
 

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Contents

Confused about virtual reality? What is it? Heres a guide for complete beginners
3
Illustrations
33
Between the future shock of network idealists and the na´ve realism of the Unabomber runs a middle path It is the peaceful road of virtual realism Te...
33
Artists teach us how to marry technology with spirit PlaceHolder and the Virtual Dervish provide lessons in virtual realism What do you learn from s...
51
Tunnel Or Spiral? Since the 1960s artistsfrom Glenn Gould to Jim Morrisonprepared us for digital interaction The same artists now help us understan...
75
Survival dictates that we integrate information systems with planetary ecology Virtual Reality is already cleaning nuclear waste sites left by the Cold ...
125
Does nature end where cyberspace begins? Or can we put nature into cyberspace? The author looks at the puzzle through some personal life history
143
Why do alien intruders populate so many nightmares? What brings them to us? Consider these visitors our future selves summoning us from the nott...
173
Notes on Artists and Works
201
Chapter Notes
205
Vocabulary of Virtual Realism
209
Suggested Reading
223
Index
231
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About the author (2000)

Michael Heim is the author of the award winning The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality and the ground breaking Electric Language.

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