Dreamlike Environments: “Story-living” in Virtual Reality Installations
This article examines the narrative identity of a new emerging medium, the virtual reality installation. In order to do so, the representation of dream states often presented in virtual art will be considered as a metareflexive model to be analysed in order to comprehend the distinctive characteristics of this experience. From this point of view, the study distinguishes virtual from physical art installations, the experience of which has been compared by Claire Bishop to the process of de-codification of dreams, focusing on the concept of incorporation. Accordingly, this incorporated experience of immersive images will be considered in relation to contemporary dream theory, formulated in the fields of neuroscience and philosophy of mind. At the same time, a second focus will be devoted to the use of the dream metaphor in new media art dealing with media archaeology and in particular in the interactive artwork Beyond (1997). In conclusion, the analysis of two contemporary virtual reality installations metariflexively dealing with dream experience, Somnai (2018) and The Key (2019) will lead to the individuation of a common experiential model: storyliving instead of storytelling.
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