What Is VR

Virtual reality has long been a dream half-remembered through the technological ages. A call to a higher, more immersive form of art has stirred artists over the years, but the hardware had never before matched the ambition.

So artists made do. They implied depth through paint and print. They hinted at immersion with traditional cinema and, more successfully, IMAX.

But art, like science, is restless. Art, like science, feeds on revolutions. To reach through the screen is no longer enough to sate our empathetic desires. Today’s storyteller yearns for a sharper and more precise tool by which to power the machines of empathy.

Virtual Reality is that tool. It is the apex, the hilt, the child of an artistic and technological revolution. By fully immersing the viewer in a 360º 3D environment, with binaural sound that can pitch and throw from any direction, VR has the potential to become the ultimate storytelling device.

Now, in our time, you can actually walk a mile in another man’s shoes.

“Presence is still coming into a definition, but we know two things about it: It feels good, and it’s different from verisimilitude. With presence, you do get a profound sensation of space, causing you to forget you’re staring at a screen. Presence is fragile, but when achieved, it’s so joyful and sustaining that those who touch it tend to fall silent.”

– Virginia Heffernan, New York Times