A Century of Virtual Reality POSTPONED

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Embodied (2019) Dir. Miriam Ross

In light of the emerging COVID-19 situation and continuing policy statements from the State and Federal Government, the University is adopting a series of changes to reduce rates of infection in the community. The health and wellbeing of our community is of paramount importance. Therefore, all University events have been postponed or cancelled from midnight, Tuesday 17 March. Thank you for your understanding as we endeavour to keep our community members safe during this uncertain time.

Dr Miriam Ross (@miriamruthross)
Victoria University of Wellington

In this seminar, Dr Miriam Ross will present on the complex history of Virtual Reality. Taking the lenticular stereoscope's 1851 public debut as the first eye apparatus to provide the illusion of transportation to a virtual world, we have had over a century and a half of technological devices that expand optical data and our potential for knowing through visual means. Yet for all that virtual reality devices are premised upon the optical illusion, multisensory and synesthetic modes have meant that we experience deeply embodied, subjective, interactions. These take place at the material and the imaginative level as fully realised and experimental technologies inspire and are inspired by creative arts (literature, theatre, film, television, gaming).

This seminar charts a trajectory connecting VR's embodiment with early 3D cinema experiments, science fiction literature and Star Trek's Holodeck. This seminar touches on three significant historical moments: the 1930s, late 1980s/early 1990s, and our present moment.

This seminar is part of the Digital Studio's 2020 Seminar Series - Seeing Double: The Multiple Worlds of Virtual Reality which is presented in partnership with the Enlightenment, Romanticism Contemporary Culture research unit.


Dr Miriam Ross is Senior Lecturer in the Film Programme at Victoria University of Wellington. She works with new technologies to combine practice-based methods and traditional academic analysis. Her publications include South American Cinematic Culture: Policy, Production, Distribution and Exhibition (2010) and 3D Cinema: Optical Illusions and Tactile Experiences (2015) as well as journal articles on film industries, new cinema technologies, stereoscopic media, virtual reality and film festivals. Her short films and virtual reality works have been screened internationally and her video essays have been published in online journals. She is also co-founder and administrator of Stereoscopic media.

Header image: Embodied (2019) Dir. Miriam Ross