Virtual reality documentaries and the illusion of presence
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I argue that virtual reality (VR) documentaries mandate that users employ a fictional attitude toward their presence in a virtual environment (VE) for the purpose of engaging with nonfictional content. The most salient feature of VR is that VR users typically feel as though their bodies were present in a VE. This paper explores presence in VR as a perceptual illusion facilitated by certain technological features. Drawing on Kendall Walton’s concept of fiction, I argue that the illusion of presence in VR also requires a fictional attitude that VR users employ when imagining themselves in a VE. In the case of VR documentaries, while users’ attitude in regards to the feeling of presence is best characterized as make-belief, they nevertheless employ an attitude of belief in regards to the content of the documentary and accept this content as nonfictional.
Studt , E 2021 , ' Virtual reality documentaries and the illusion of presence ' , Studies in Documentary Film , vol. Latest Articles . https://doi.org/10.1080/17503280.2021.1923147
Studies in Documentary Film
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.