The Pasts and Futures of Virtual Reality

Mikepanhu. Google Glass with frame for prescription lens 2014 CC BY-SA 3.0 PD-US
Mikepanhu. ‘Google Glass with frame for prescription lens’ 2014 CC BY-SA 3.0 PD-US


The release in 2016 of the consumer version of Oculus Rift marks the beginning of a new era in VR. For our purposes, this technology offers a point of reference in relation to which the possible futures of VR technologies can be explored, while bringing these futures into dialogue with some of the histories of VR – in literary and theatre studies, art history, screen studies, and game studies.

Our areas of interest include the use of virtual realities to manage, extend, and double reality in Enlightenment, Romanticism and contemporary culture; the changing relations between fiction and reality (fictionality and referentiality); the exchanges between disenchantment and re-enchantment in ‘modern’ cultures; performance / story-telling on stage and on the Holodeck; the contemporary reinvention of invention, through interactivity and sociability, which ties imagination (and imagined realities) closely to the production of commodities; vicarious travel in fiction, on stage, and digital virtual realities; the fabrication of geographies or architectures of the imagination, from Walpole and Sterne, to Blake and Beckford, Lovecraft and Tolkien, and the interactive role-playing games of today; and so on.


Professor Peter Otto (University of Melbourne)

Professor Angela Ndalianis (Swinburne University)