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[Xmca-l] Re: Semioticians, parse this VR



Hi Helen,I am going to my first gaming industry conference tomorrow (longish story: I don't know anything about games, but I am very interested in narrative in different forms) and, in fact, the question you ask below is one of the questions I have. I think the answer, or part of the answer, is in your discussion of point of view. Very, very simplistically, most film takes up the omniscient narrator POV (though often attenuated, or heavily scored with the POV of the main protagonist), but, as you say, VR is quite different. My understanding is that VR seeks to narrate from the 1st person: the 'I' is the actor/character who is 'me'. However, what I think happens more often -- and rather excitingly, as this is very, very tricky in written fiction -- is that VR POV is 2nd person -- the 'you' which you nicely describe as 'where the writer speaks in the reader's ear'. I THINK so, anyway. Might know more after tomorrow!Thanks for this!Wendy
> From: helenaworthen@gmail.com
> Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2016 18:44:47 -0700
> To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Semioticians, parse this please
> 
> Greg — I’m nearly 10 days behind, but I would still like to hear some thoughts about VR. I don’t mean DOING a paper in VR. I don’t forsee that happening. But to the extent that people like to think about how narrative works, I would expect that the question of how narrative works in VR should be intriguing. Think about how the writer constructs a place — a platform - on which the reader experiences the flow of the action. There is a lot of stuff written about how this platform is constructed in written narrative: the omniscient narrator who has the “eye of God,” who can tell what is happening anywhere in the universe, at any time, and feed it in consecutive bites into the mind of the reader, allowing him or her to see omnisciently. Then there’s the writer who shows us the world through the eye of one person, sometimes the main protagonist and sometimes an observe, but still makes the reader look at the action from the outside. Then there’s the “I” or first person narrator, through which the writer places the reader into the body and eye of the protagonist. And there’s the “you” version, where the writer speaks in the reader’s ear telling him or her, “then you did this, then you did that.”  
> 
> All of this had to be completely re-thought for movies, once movies stopped being just theater on film. The meaning of each choice had to be explicit, if only so that the cameraman could know what to shoot and the editors know what to cut. I thought this was where semiotics really got going. 
> 
> So what happens when you get VR? The story is still told by the writers and the people who prepare the film. But the viewer is now standing, moving, walking or riding in the center of a sphere that surrounds him. He is not looking at a screen. He is in three-dimensional space. He can turn around and see what’s going on behind him. He can look down and see the ground (early VR like the Ghostbusters shortie let you look down and —whoops, where are my legs? A problem to be fixed later) or up and see trees, tall buildings, stars or airplanes. Behind him, a car might be coming down the street. All of this is moving along just like in reality. But the filmmakers now have to account for the coherence of the viewer’s experience and construct that coherence and make it meaningful. 
> 
> I have googled “Semiotics of Virtual Reality” and found articles about games and language but nothing that really addressed how different the thinking and designing of a VR experience must be, compared to other ways of constructing an experience intended to be enjoyed by someone else. 
> 
> This is intended as just a response, not trying to start a new thread.
> 
> Helena
> 
> 
>  
> > On Jul 3, 2016, at 4:34 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:
> > 
> > My thought:
> > Anybody working on a next paper for publication - how about doing it in
> > virtual reality?
> > Is that even imaginable?
> > -greg​
> > P.S. Helena, congratulations on your son's success!
> > 
> > On Sun, Jul 3, 2016 at 2:36 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> > 
> >> What do you find disturbing about virtual reality entertainment, Helena?
> >> And your son is employed!
> >> Seems like your reality is virtually in great shape.  :-)
> >> mike
> >> 
> >> On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 6:17 AM, Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com>
> >> wrote:
> >> 
> >>> Please take a look at this disturbing but real phenomenon:
> >>> 
> >>> 
> >>> 
> >> http://www.alistdaily.com/media/sony-pictures-kicks-off-vr-entertainment-business-ghostbusters/
> >>> 
> >>> Full disclosure: this guy is my son. How did this happen?
> >>> 
> >>> Helena
> >>> 
> >>> 
> >>> Helena Worthen
> >>> 21 San Mateo Road
> >>> Berkeley, CA 94707
> >>> hworthen@illinois.edu
> >>> Vietnam blog is at: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
> >>> 510-828-2745
> >>> 
> >>> 
> >>> 
> >>> 
> >>> 
> >> 
> >> 
> >> --
> >> 
> >> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
> >> that creates history. Ernst Boesch
> >> 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > -- 
> > Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> > Assistant Professor
> > Department of Anthropology
> > 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> > Brigham Young University
> > Provo, UT 84602
> > http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> 
>