Vision, ambiguity and perceptual possibility : why pictures matter in the critique of stereo-immersive VR

Woodcock, Rose 2010, Vision, ambiguity and perceptual possibility : why pictures matter in the critique of stereo-immersive VR, Ph.D thesis, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne.

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Title Vision, ambiguity and perceptual possibility : why pictures matter in the critique of stereo-immersive VR
Author Woodcock, RoseORCID iD for Woodcock, Rose
Institution University of Melbourne
School School of Culture and Communication
Degree type Research doctorate
Degree name Ph.D
Thesis advisor Morse, Peter
Bolt, Barbara
Date submitted 2010-11-10
Summary The acquisition of three-dimensional immersive space through advanced digitial imaging technology, suggests a profound shift from the relatively impoverished representational stratgies of two-dimensional pictorial imagery.  This entails an epistemological shift from pictorial representation, to the presentation of actual three-dimensional space through stereoscopic (3D) imagery.  Moreover, it suggests that visuality rather than 'virtuality' is the core issue in understanding the nature of the epistemological shift associated with stereo-immersive VR.

A shift in visual epistemology from 'flat' pictorial representation to three-dimensional stereo-immersion suggests a gainful move toward a visuality imbued with spatial possibilities.  In quantitative terms, these visual-spatial gains may seem self-evident.  However, certain aspects peculiar to pictorial representation are missing from stereo-immersive imaging.  That is lost in stereo-immersive imaging, and how it can be measured?

This thesis proposes that the inherent ambiguity of two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional spatial structure in pictures, invokes a perceptual response in which pictorial spaces elicit 'perceptual possibility'.  The robust three-dimentional spatiality of stereo-immersvie VR foreclosures such possibility.  Through examining stereo-immersive VR in terms of its visuality, the thesis develops a new appraoch to understanding VR that solves some of the issues associated with the problematic concept of 'virtuality'.  In addition, the thesis finds that by placing stereo-immersive VR and pictures within the shared paradigm of 'the visual', an important dimension of pictures that has been overlooked in past analyses re-emerges : the thesis proposes the concept of 'artifactuality' to account for the way pictures are fundamentally, and in the first instance, aesthetic objects for visual perception.  It is in their manner of appearing as pictures, that they are perceived as pictures of something.  It is from this fundamental basis that their many levels of meaning and signification - their manifold 'realisms' - can arise.

This thesis therefore addresses two intersecting problems within the paradigm of the visual: it proposes 1) that analyses of 'the virtual' be grounded in the 'artifactuality' of pictorial perception, and 2) that the spatiality of stereo-immersive VR be reinvigorated by purposefully 'under-contraining' its key percept - the robust, 'solid' stereoscopic structuring of visual space.  This approach opens up the discourse of stereo-immersive VR to new visual paradigms.  The thesis proposes that these be modelled not on the impossibility of 'the virtual', but on the possibilities of visual ambiguity drawn from the analysis of pictorial perception.
Language eng
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