The Aesthetics of Reality Media - Jay Botler
March 7, 2017
Like film and television before them, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are reality media. They redefine what constitutes reality for us in our contemporary media culture. VR redefines reality as a computer graphic world. Our everyday world has been completely replaced. With Augmented Reality devices, which can be a headset or more often today simply our smartphone or tablet, reality becomes hybrid. We still see and hear the everyday world (through the video camera on the phone), but digital text, imagery, and sometimes sound are overlaid on or blended into that world. A new reality emerges in which the line between the physical and the digital is blurred. In my remarks I will explore the contrasting aesthetic properties of these two technologies, particularly with respect to the ways in which they remediate earlier media forms. Our media culture today tends to understand VR under the aesthetic of transparency, while AR is usually (but not always) figured as hypermediated.