Some thoughts about tech

The New Artificial: VR

The materiality of design expands further than a mere object. [1] According to Bruno Latour, humans never move from one private sphere to the Great Outside; we are carefully contained within designed envelopes that unfold into new envelopes. Humans, our own beings being designed with fragility, depend on life support that is not so explicit to us, unless ecological crisis slowly expose us to those dependencies. This struck me as I thought about the layers of artifice we live in. We constantly design shelters in and around us. 

As Latour noted, designers need to think of tools that draw things together "including gods, non-humans, and mortals" and allow the “contradictory and controversial nature of matters of concerns to be represented.” I could think how the development of Virtual reality tools are introducing us to a new world completely devoid of materiality existent in our physical world. It allows people to reimagine the notion of “artificial” – is the world we exist in more artificial than the virtual world we created or vice versa? It also suggests new meanings of gods, non-humans, and mortals. If we could live beyond our physical lives in our virtual worlds, could we draw what it means to be mortal? Perhaps the oculus is too narrow in its possibilities to capture matters of concerns, but the notion of virtual reality ushers us to think about new artificial possibilities of existence beyond materiality. Design no longer bifurcates to materiality and aesthetics, but more and more materiality, aesthetics, even morality are coalesced into one. Now with the possibilities that virtual reality offers, even our own beings, the physicality of our beings, are becoming harder to remove from functionality, morality, and aesthetics related to redesigning the world.

[1] “A Cautious Prometheus? A Few Steps Toward a Philosophy of Design (with Special Attention to Peter Sloterdijk)”



Jasmine OhComment