SCSMI2017 Helsinki has ended
The annual conference of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI) welcomes you to the Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland, June 11th – 14th, 2017

SCSMI2017 Helsinki program is under construction and changes are to occur. Meanwhile you may complete your personal information with a photo and some tags, so the other attendees and speakers will get to know more of you and your interests, and vice versa.

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Monday, June 12 • 14:00 - 14:30
SP Michael Grabowski. Perception and Poetics of Virtual Reality

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Limited Capacity seats available

Perception and Poetics of VR: The Problem of Medium

The emerging technologies that support virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are a significant departure from the rectangular two-dimensional screen. In fact, VR is a sort of meta-medium, encompassing a range from from 360-degree recorded video to 3-D interactive games. This presentation documents the current and future uses of VR and AR, examines how the perception of VR and AR differs from cinema, and suggests a new poetics for these immersive technologies.

VR and AR have been employed to allow viewers to see real places most viewers are unlikely to visit and show other places on which humans have yet set foot, like the surface of Mars and Pluto. Beyond the real, VR can show fantasy environments using computer-generated images (CGI) and photorealistic fictions, such as Netflix’s Stranger Things. Likewise, AR supplements a naturalistic view of one’s environment with data about that environment, overlaid in visual form.

Though emerging VR genres recall the debates of early cinema as serving realist or abstract aesthetics, the perception of VR is quite different than cinema. Beyond fully enveloping the visual sense with imagery and the auditory sense with immersive sound, VR also engages the proprioceptive and vestibular senses in ways cinema cannot. Antunes (2016) has described how audio-visual stimuli are experienced on a multisensory, perceptual level. VR further approaches a full sensorium, an immersive environment that works in consort to provide a perception of the real or builds an aesthetic out of its medium characteristic that differ from perceived reality. However, notable differences exist between VR and perception of a physical environment.

Bordwell (2008) provides a useful model for studying the poetics of a medium, a tripartite approach that includes a critical examination of that medium’s aesthetics, historical examination of the development of techniques, and cognitive explanations for the perception of an aesthetic. This same model can be used to examine VR, which resembles the individualized experience of Edison’s kinescope more so than the social one of viewing the Lumière Brothers’ cinématographe. What are the common characteristics of all VR media? What conditions of attendance are required when viewing VR? How do different uses of VR stretch from passive viewers to participants in narrative construction and experience? And, what are the perceptual, affective, and cognitive effects of VR that together contribute to the poetics of the medium?

Antunes, L. (2016). The Multisensory Film Experience: A Cognitive Model of Experiental Film Aesthetics. Bristol, UK: Intellect.

Bordwell, D. (2008). Poetics of Cinema. New York: Routledge.

avatar for Michael Grabowski

Michael Grabowski

Associate Professor, Manhattan College
Keyowrds: Studio/Field Production; VR; online video aesthetics; convergence of documentary and fiction genresMichael Grabowski is an Associate Professor of Communication at Manhattan College. He is the editor of Neuroscience and Media: New Understandings and Representations (2015... Read More →

Monday June 12, 2017 14:00 - 14:30 EEST
A-306 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki