Virtual reality as an artistic medium: A study on creative projects using contemporary head-mounted displays

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Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Location:
P1 OPINNÄYTTEET D 2016 Kim
Author
Date
2016
Major/Subject
New Media Design and Production
Mcode
Degree programme
New Media
Language
en
Pages
70 + 3
Series
Abstract
There has been a lack of discussion concerning virtual reality as an expressive medium. It is essential to emphasise the aesthetic dimension of virtual reality in order to develop the medium as a powerful artistic mode of expression. This thesis examines how head-mounted display-based virtual reality can be used for artistic expression, focussing on the aesthetic pleasures of the medium. Pioneering first-generation VR artworks are reviewed through the scope of artistic exploration, and four key aesthetic pleasures in VR experience are proposed: immersion, agency, navigation, and transformation. The demonstration of VR aesthetics is investigated through the qualitative content analysis of four contemporary VR installations. The study reveals following findings: (1) the coherence of a virtual environment is more crucial than a realistic representation of the physical world in inducing a sense of immersion; (2) the degree of agency is inverse in proportion to the degree of authorship in VR experiences; (3) placing constraints on participants’ movements can bring about a strong emotional impact; and (4) the participant’s attitude and behaviour changes according to the given identity in a virtual environment. It is suggested that the capacity of virtual reality is not currently used to its full extent when it comes to artistic manifestation. It is therefore the responsibility of artists, developers, and researchers to establish the language of virtual reality as an artistic medium for the future production of VR experience.
Description
Supervisor
Reunanen, Markku
Thesis advisor
Reunanen, Markku
Keywords
VR, virtual reality, artstic medium, aesthetics, VR art, head-mounted display, HMD
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