Our Belief on Body Experiencing the Virtual World

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Hyowon Shim


This presentation attempts to analyze how our bodies perceive and experience Virtual Reality(VR). It begins with comparing the ways of visualization of VR with the ones of cinema. While they both present images, I point out that one of the crucial differences is related to subjectivity, the mode of viewer’s reception. Cinematic viewers are induced to forget their bodies under the circumstances of ‘blackbox,’while in contrast, VR viewers are constantly forced to move and act according to what they are shown. It does not mean that VR technologies enforce viwers’ subjectivity, but rather their ‘belief’ on subjectivity. In other words, it summons our belief of ownership of the viewing experience through actions with our body. It seems like we have control over our body in VR, but in fact, we are needed to move according to the constructed world, not by ourselves. The notion of Psychotechnics suggested by Hugo Munsterberg and some contemporary discussions in cognitive science are brought into this discussion. I argue that the body, allowed to participate in the virtual world, functions more in the psychological layers, which deserves more of our focus.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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