Virtual Reality and Aesthetic Experience

Philosophies 7 (2):29 (2022)
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The problem of aesthetic experience in a virtual environment could be reformulated as: what can we learn about aesthetics from the perspective of ‘aesthetic experience in virtual environments’, given the specific nature of such an environment? The discourse goes in circles, because it is always from theories elaborated in the field of the so-called ‘real’ that we develop the difference, but it is a process typically philosophical, that, on the other hand, can make sense only if it can be shown that the virtual is an existent being that has an ontological structure of its own. The ontology of this strange object–event, and of its relationship to space–time, must therefore be addressed: what are the conditions of identity for a virtual body? What are its limits? In what sense does it have borders? Also, its specific temporality and its connection to human and computer memories are arguable dimensions that deserve analysis, as they directly affect an ontology of the virtual body, the difference between the virtual and the possible, and the relationship between the human body and the virtual body. However, the specific character of the virtual is to be an intermediate entity between object and event, between thing and image, so that virtual bodies represent a hybrid, interactive world which can be visualized as synthetic image, an immersive hybrid engaging the corporeality of the user and merging with the virtual body’s image; this hybridization, between the body of the spectator–actor and the virtual space in which it is immersed, is difficult to define with singularity.



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