[-empyre-] II

Jonathan Marshall Jonathan.Marshall at uts.edu.au
Tue Oct 9 14:55:23 EST 2012

Diane writes

>In any case, when one of my former colleagues at UW's HITLab discovered that
>VR was as effective as opioids for people who suffered 3rd degree burns,
>I was compelled to return. (Videogames don't come close.)

this is extraordinary.
What kind of VR was it? and did it work for other pains -chronic or accute

>Currently, I organized and direct a group of researchers that includes pain specialists
>(physicians), neuroscientist, psychophysicist, psychologists, computer scientists,
>sound designers, media artists and media studies scholars. Together, we are conducting
>long-term health research (usually not considered art). At the same time, members
>of this group also team up in various ways to theorize, create interactive art, do
>enthnographies and so on. The reception has been lukewarm, except that in the past
>2 to 3 years, pain has, in the words of others "become sexy." (?!)

are there publications, or places where we can read about this research?

>I'm interested in what constitutes the virtual -- is the term useful?

My argument is that it is not... but that is still coming.

Certainly i have not seen uses of the term which are not embedded in magic
that is in the idea of power that is not quite present
the hidden virtue or whatever.

So my feeling is that the term misleads - yet at the same time it is hard to delete

>As my niece would say, "you can't pee in VR" -- that is, there are obvious limits, as there are with any media form.
>On the other hand, it can elicit or provoke perceptually intense responses, some of which persist.

Indeed, but pointing at Artaud again, so can theatre, so can movies, so can text, so can hypnosis.

Maybe so much of what we think is ourselves, depends upon one or two senses that when these are simulated or overwhelmed, we end up in different states.

As already noted, in terms of this theme, pain is very much one of those overwhelming sensations. It can become everything, or shut down everything as we avoid it.

>Setting VR aside for a moment, many of those who have contributed last week described
>what sound like moving experiences that transcend the silencing effects of pain,
>in ways that appear to persist. Whatever the sharable phenomenon is, I wouldn't
>term it "virtual." I'm wondering how others see this phenomenon?

good question... I've no idea


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