Instrumental vision

Woodcock, Rose 2013, Instrumental vision. In Bolt, Barbara and Barrett, Estelle (ed), Carnal knowledge : towards a new materialism through the arts, I.B.Tauris, London, England, pp.171-184.

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Title Instrumental vision
Author(s) Woodcock, RoseORCID iD for Woodcock, Rose
Title of book Carnal knowledge : towards a new materialism through the arts
Editor(s) Bolt, Barbara
Barrett, EstelleORCID iD for Barrett, Estelle
Publication date 2013
Chapter number 12
Total chapters 14
Start page 171
End page 184
Total pages 14
Publisher I.B.Tauris
Place of Publication London, England
Keyword(s) aesthetics
art history
pictorial perception
pictorial representation
stereo-immersive VR
virtual reality
virtual environment
Summary This chapter interrogates stereo-immersive ‘virtual reality’ (VR), the technology that enables a perceiver to experience what it is like to be immersed in a simulated environment. While the simulation is powered by the “geometry engine” (Cutting, 1997: 31) associated with high-end computer imaging technology, the visual experience itself is powered by ordinary human vision: the vision system’s innate capacity to see “in 3D”. To understand and critically appraise stereo-immersive VR, we should study not its purported ‘virtuality’, but its specific visuality, because the ‘reality’ of a so-called ‘virtual environment’ is afforded by the stereoacuity of binocular vision itself. By way of such a critique of the visuality of stereo-immersive VR, this chapter suggests that we think about the ‘practice’ of vision, and consider on what basis vision can have its own ‘materiality’. Pictorial perception is proposed as an exemplary visual mode in which the possibilities of perception might emerge. Against the ‘possibilities’ of vision associated with pictures, the visuality of stereo-immersive VR emerges as a harnessing, or ‘instrumentalisation’ of vision’s innate capabilities. James J. Gibson’s ‘ecological’ approach to vision studies is referenced to show the degree to which developers of VR have sought — and succeeded — to mimic the ‘realness’ of ordinary perceptual reality. This raises a question concerning whether the success of stereo-immersive VR is simultaneously the source of its own perceptual redundancy: for to bring into being the perceptual basis of ordinary ‘real’ reality, is to return the perceiver to what is already familiar and known.
ISBN 1780762658
Language eng
Field of Research 190104 Visual Cultures
Socio Economic Objective 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
HERDC Research category B1 Book chapter
HERDC collection year 2012
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Created: Sun, 17 Feb 2013, 08:36:33 EST by Rosemary Woodcock

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