I have really enjoyed this expanded practice course as it has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I enjoyed debating the issues around virtual reality with new fellow class members from different disciplines. It offered me the opportunity to explore my practice outside my established studio work. Virtual reality was a topic I had no knowledge upon, so this unit extended and developed my knowledge base.
The main reason why I chose to learn more about virtual reality was because I was lacking in information about it. I wanted some answers to why people felt the need to use VR. It seemed to me it was only a solution without a true problem. As we started learning more about VR, I was blown away by how exciting Virtual reality actually is. I grew to realise that it is not just a gadget that you put on for pure entertainment. People also use it as the ultimate empathy machine, for example placing yourself into someone else’s shoes. This itself benefits people who are less physically able to experience things, allowing them to take part in an immersive experience with VR which allows them to do things they can’t physically do.
This is an example of where VR headsets are used to test out ideas around empathy and identity by allowing people to explore the world through someone else’s eyes.
Figure 13. (IDFA, 2014)
This is an example of something that really inspired me. I wanted to relate VR with my own studio work. I did this by coming up with an idea to create an abstract world that can be explored mainly by kids and people with physical and learning disabilities to allow them to touch and feel different textures which will kick start them into understanding the sense of touch. I personally feel VR should be used for reasons like this, rather than creating programs that will make human beings lazier.
I am aware that VR is very expensive, hence not accessible for all, however, I have grown to realize that when more people are able to explore this platform, there will be a lot of new advances within technology that will help benefit people in the future. I believe it will mark a new beginning, changing the way we live. It will give people comfort through being able to transport into different countries, go shopping without physically being at the mall etc. This itself is all very exciting however, it also has its disadvantages. I feel this will lead us into being dependent on VR, where we start to believe simulation is better than reality. I’ve learnt that VR can be a very immersive experience that can easily be adapted into something desirable- you can change the space, time, climate and scale, being able to create a utopian world that you have always dreamed of.
I believe all our seminars were very informative, it was very nice having a tutor that had a lot of knowledge and was truly passionate in the field of VR. I was very excited during our last seminar, when we finally got the chance to voice our own views about the issues around virtual reality. I would have really liked to debate more during our seminars.