Facebook has presented their version of Virtual Reality, Facebook Spaces . A far cry from anything other platforms are doing with this medium, Facebook Spaces allows users to choose cartoon versions of themselves to virtually hang out with other cartoon versions in a 360- real environment. I begin with this introduction to further analyze and ponder the intersection between virtual reality and/or augmented reality with the media of Television. What role will viewers and content creators play when creating a media immersive world?Amanda Lotz explains in “Television Outside the Box: The Technological Revolution of Television”, how through the emergence of technology and the digital transition “viewers used television and necessitated modifications in many other production processes” (49). With the advent of smartphones, television removed itself from the constrained space of the living room, its spatial beginnings, and through this freedom allowed itself to be digested in other spaces. Taking this further, given the freedom of spaces and emerging technology of Virtual Reality and/or Augmented Reality, where and what will the intersection lie between the televisual world and the real? What are the implications? What can be afforded? What is lost?
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The current Post-TV landscape includes Youtube, a self-uploading, relatively unbiased space for all voices to be broadcast. A red-flag that Virtual Reality and/or Augmented Reality (VR/AR) cultivates is the ‘who’ of the creation? Who is creating these virtual spaces? Currently, a white-male dominated industry, the complication for another medium to be run by white-males is regressive. Any affordance that virtual reality and/or augmented reality will generate will undoubtedly benefit its primary creators, white-males.
Which brings me back full circle to the first reading of the course, Raymond Williams’ Television: Technology and Cultural Form. According to him, television even with its technological advances, is seen as inferior to cinema (22). But, what Raymond Williams’ couldn’t have foreseen is the emergence of mainstream devices such as the Google Cardboard. Television will have the outlet to become intensely immersive into our real world, in so much, that it will be a part of the landscape. However, I do believe Williams’ take on flow can be applied to the VR/AR. The flow that Williams describes will be so interconnected with our daily life, we won’t be able to distinguish between the real and the digital.
Check out the video below to visualize what a world with AR could look like.