Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thoughts on Manovich

Manovich talks about the mastery of the digital and physical world with the advent of the screen; but cutting reality into a 'sign and nothingness,' and takes it even further by suggesting that the body becomes imprisoned not only conceptually, but physically as well. This negates the ability of the user to keep a psychological distance between the virtual world, and the physical. Surely in looking at a screen the immediate digital world is the sole focus of the viewer, that does not make the user a 'passive' subject that accepts all of the short comings of the virtual interface.

However, the idea of bodily imprisonment is much more evident in the case of VR. To take a 'virtual' step in the 'virtual' world, one must take a step in the physical world. This makes the subject obedient to the digital world in the sense that they are not only reponsible for the viewing of the virtual world, they are now obligated to move, speak, and react in order to experience it. Also, the disappearace of the 'fake space' between an image and the surface it rests on is an important characteristic of VR. With no backdrop for the user to rely on, they become a visual and physical slave to the virtuality of the digital world.

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