VIGIA - Magazine for Technology and Society (Article Excerpt, written by Julia Bruton)
"The flat medium VR is the first visual medium that is not 'flat' but can be experienced as a 360° medium. This has an impact both on the creation of the medium and on how it is received. Most of the previous visual media, whether e.g. paintings, film, TV or cinema, have clearly directed the gaze. What is shown in it is shaped by the wishes, the world view, the perception and the sense of art of its producers. The visual object usually has a frame, often angular, sometimes of other shapes: thus it is usually limited to the space that the artists want to present to us. It's about precision and focus, about an opinion about something, a feeling that has to be formed beforehand so that the work can have its 'meaning'. The artistic expression of the artists is often the focus. At the same time, this reflects the uniqueness of the artists, which in turn can prove to be practical in a capitalist system in which art has to be sold. The only thing left to us as recipients is a decoding that is closely and yet complexly related to the intention of the artist. Accordingly, in such an art world, little value is usually placed on the personal interpretation of the recipient. In other words, most of this art is not about those who look at the work of art, but about the people who create it (and in a second step, about those who make money from it). I dare say that in some ways this reflects the current patriarchal form of society. Characteristics of this order are mostly its hierarchical structure and the dominance of the few 'above' who stand on top the many 'below'. Added to this is the violence necessary to maintain this order. Ultimately, the art world is often not about creating freedom and opportunities for development, but about maintaining a social status quo. In this situation, those artists and works that correspond particularly well to these conditions prevail. This goes hand in hand with a limited perspective that can be understood with the functioning of previous media: the view is limited: it does not go further than the framework of the medium and the content also (almost) always clearly shows what it is about. In a historical and social context, what we have to see and feel is restricted and prescribed - and this context is based on power, dominance and violence at the same time. A transformation through VR What happens when the medium loses its flatness and becomes a 360° medium? How do we act as recipients in such a medium? Are we still collective recipients at all or are we not much more experiencers who experience something individually? And what does that mean for VR creators? A different perception through VR What happens to me as a recipient when my gaze is no longer clearly directed? When there is no longer a frame, no limitation from ‹above› for what I perceive? In this case, I'm less 'restricted' and simply presented, but I rather have to find my way around myself. When it comes to VR, there is still a lot in development, but one thing is already in movement: I, as an experienced user, will be required to do much more personal work and have personal responsibility within this medium. I transform myself from a passive recipient to an active experiencer. (…) Another kind of artist through VR What does this mean for artists who want to engage with VR? The medium calls for a different kind of 'creator' than a flat medium: the driving factor is not the artists, but the question of why they create this VR experience in the first place and what opportunities it holds for people who experience it. In other words, the ego of the artist will not be important, but the ego of the experiencer, the question of what it does or can do with those who engage in a VR experience themselves. As a result, as an artist, you have to deal more with the other person than with yourself. VR works on many levels. The psychological is one of them. But I don't mean a level that is dominant and shows the way, but rather, like a good therapy, lets me find out for myself what the way can be. This is more likely to be found in a matriarchal world than a patriarchal one - where one or a few lead the way and everyone else follows. The way we create and tell stories in this medium will also change significantly: the unity of space and time can be dismissed. This unity is still important in VR, but that will change in the future due to experience habits (similar to viewing habits in flat media). Linearity is then no longer needed and, as a result, no inevitable causal relationships are required in order for the user to always have to derive one thing from the other. Similar to our dreams, in which people, places and times can always change, constant and non-linear change will also be possible in the VR medium. So there is no longer any reason for the artist to have to 'explain' herself or always have to ensure logical connections. In the end it is in the hands and perception of the experiencer what they make of the experience. Like a mother or father trying to introduce a child to the world. In the best-case scenario, the person experiencing (the child) should be able to find their way around themselves, although still with the help of a created VR world (the parents), but still have the freedom to do something of their own within the VR experience according to their respective perception . That's what I mean when I say VR has the potential to become a matriarchal medium. What does 'matriarchal' mean in the context of VR? At this point, a brief digression is necessary to clarify what I mean when I use the word ‹matriarchal›: Contrary to the minds and ideas of many, matriarchal has nothing to do with our patriarchal forms of society. Many therefore think that matriarchal is synonymous with a form of society in which women rule with equal means; i.e. through hierarchies, dominance, use of force and distribution of power. But that's not the case. I would like to mention four fundamental differences: - Where matriarchal structures still exist, they are characterized by very flat hierarchies; - Economically it is about a form of subsistence farming, which means that everyone has enough, not a few everything; - The matrilocality (women own the houses and live there with their families all their lives) ensures that the children are always protected in the event of quarrels between parents; - Aggression and violence are frowned upon in society. In other words, due to the lack of hierarchical structures, the responsibility is distributed to significantly more heads, whereby they really have to assume their responsibility so that joint decisions can be made. The situation is similar with the medium of VR. Since there is no longer a predetermined view, I have to decide for myself where to look and what to focus on. The economy is geared towards society – women are entrusted with the fair distribution of money. As mentioned, this can also be related to the artists who create VR: the others are more important than me as an artist. House ownership creates families, but when parents separate, fathers go back to their mother's house and children stay in their mother's house, and the father figure is taken by a brother or uncle. In this way, the offspring is always protected. An actual business model for VR, such as that used in the production of a cinema film and its exploitation, does not yet exist. Perhaps it is possible to orientate oneself more towards matriarchal terms here. Time will show. The fact that neither aggression nor violence is tolerated maintains a balance whereby those who are stronger in the community cannot usurp power. The classic notion of the genius artist is transcended in VR in this way. So it's not power and assertiveness in the art world that counts in VR, but the recipients, the people who perceive the experience. If you take these points together and compare them with its patriarchal counterpart, it becomes clear that VR is particularly suitable for creating and experiencing matriarchal worlds and possibly evaluating them in a further step. (…) "
What's VR Women? (written by Julia Bruton)
"I am a women. Like millions out there. Yet, how often do I reach boundaries, when it comes to my own awareness of this world, to my ideas, emotions and state of simply just being? VR Women wants to break such boundaries, invite to think and see and feel and be different – as a women - no matter of your sex. It wants to explore new opportunities - in relation to the medium of VR – and how that can bring change along within this society; one that is very depended on media in general. Can we still live a life without any technical device, that portrays content to us? That kind of world by now is hard to imagine. And now we have a new medium starting its way into our daily lives: VR. And that is a great opportunity. Via VR I do believe it’s possible to change the approach I felt so far by the society to my being a women and make it experienceable, what I go thru within my life where words or simple images might not be enough or sufficient anymore. On that basis an exchange is more possible and likeable, then with any other medium so far – on VR Women I want that exchange to expand. Everyone is welcome to contact me and be part of this approach. Maybe you want me to talk to you in my podcast about your world in connection with VR? Or have something in writing, that you’d like to share? Let’s dive into the world of VR WOMEN and begin the change."