Google Earth screen capture, styled after Stewart Brand’s ‘The Whole Earth Catalog’.
Journal of Visual Culture is an international refereed journal that welcomes compelling, critically engaged contributions that explore and expand trans-disciplinary global visual cultures.
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Guest Editors’ Introduction: Virtual reality: immersion and empathy
Virtual/reality: how to tell the difference
Janet H. Murray looks beyond the predictions made at advent of VR on its effects, and attempts to situate VR as an emerging medium that continues on the course towards developing new media conventions to support sustained interaction and immersion, based on an active creation of belief.
Empathy and nausea: virtual reality and Jordan Wolfson’s Real Violence
Grant Bollmer and Katherine Guinness analyze ‘Real Violence’, a VR piece by artist Jordan Wolfson, aiming to identify and inhabit the complex contradictions present in any discussion of empathy, transgressive confrontation, and the social function of art and VR today.
Feeling good about feeling bad: virtuous virtual reality and the automation of racial empathy
Lisa Nakamura problematizes the branding of VR as an anti-racist and anti-sexist technology through the examination of titles created by white and European producers who represent the lives of black and Middle Eastern women and girls in Lebanon, Nairobi, and Paris.
Empathy for the game master: how virtual reality creates empathy for those seen to be creating VR
Paul Roquet shows how empathetic identification ultimately tends to target the architect of the VR experiences, and how this situation points to the need to ensure a broader range of people have opportunities to take up the role of VR game master for themselves.
The aesthetics of reality media
Maria Engberg and Jay David Bolter discuss the tension between transparency and reflectivity in 360° video and 360° VR through two contrasting examples: the Danish company Makropol’s Anthropia (2017) and Arora and Unseld’s The Day the World Changed (2018), to understand the creative tension between established forms and new ones that underscore new aesthetic and narrative experiences in VR and 360° formats.
Developing the ‘best practices’ of virtual reality design: industry standards at the frontier of emerging media
Michael LaRocco discusses VR design standardization practices, in particular the Oculus Best Practices Guide (OBPG), to argue how they mitigate the weaknesses in such technology to better conform with VR’s idealized, hypothetical presentation in fiction and marketing rhetoric.
Whole world within reach: Google Earth VR
Brooke Belisle questions the implications of how Google Earth VR stages ‘worlding’ as a provisional, dimensional coordination, and what the disorienting experience it offers suggests about contemporary entanglements of perception and representation, body and world, the individual here-and-now and a global everywhere-at-once.
Reviews section includes titles by Brian Massumi, Zeuler RM de A Lima, Leah Elisabeth von Samsonow and Giorgio Agamben.