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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Virtual culture 



Do we have a cultural obsession with the virtual, with concerns about the boundaries between fantasy and reality, who guards them, and to what extent they are permeable? Watching Shutter Island and more recently Inception I have been tempted to think so. (Either that or else the obsession is some strange emanation of the mind of Leonardo Dicaprio who (coincidentally?) stars in both.) No. We are intrigued and sometimes repelled by the virtual worlds of gaming, uncertain whether to villify them, hold them up as educational worthwhile or admire them as works of art. This is a thoughtful exploration of some of these debates about videogaming. As gaming moves on, media rolls on with the creation of the first full-length machinima (The Trashmaster - trailler above), new advances in made-for-mobile movies and, I suppose, we shouldn't forget to add 3-D to this list. Maybe we shouldn't be surpised, given all this development in new media, that we wonder where it's all going. Perhaps our fantasies, our narratives, and our imagined worlds are becoming more real. Maybe we should be preoccupied with the virtual; after all it's all around us.

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