Virtual Reality as an Emerging Art Medium and Its Immersive Affordances
Today’s virtual reality (VR) technology is more immersive, reachable, and widespread than ever before. It is increasingly adopted by diverse artists and attains growing recognition at film festivals. However, with past unfulfilled promises of VR in memory, skeptics doubt whether the current VR surge is more than a passing trend.
I argue here that VR is endowed with immersive affordances, which qualitatively differ from those of any other art media, and describe the unique properties that allow it to induce transformative body-ownership illusions. Based on neuroscientific evidence, I hypothesize that these affordances are mediated by peri-personal neurons, which encode stimuli surrounding our body. Finally, I review evidence showing that virtual-body remapping implicates conceptual transformations, which potentially provide VR art with unprecedented powerful ideological devices.