What’s Real in Virtual Reality?


New Media


Semester Project

Field of Study

New Media


Dissociation by Nils Becker and Nava Dannenhauer

The joint practice/theory project in the winter semester 2019/20 questions VR models as ways of creating fictional worlds: How is the image of an (artificial) world created? Who demands a worldview (Heidegger)? What makes an artificial world credible and convincing? How does the construction of representation contribute to the “suspension of disbelief” (Coleridge)? Why does the user – Pygmalion (Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”), Scottie (Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”) – love their virtual creation?

The combination of elements of virtualization and augmentation, for example by photogrammetric methods, poses questions about the relationship or mixture of (meager) “real” and (enriched) “artificial” world and their perception and experience.

Delirious (Jan-Filip Kvrgic and Max Pflug)

At the beginning, you start in an unknown room, which reminds you of a small run-down office, in which you first have to orientate yourself. Half of the room is flooded with water, which initially appears to float above your head. The only manifestation of the user is a remote control in his hand. With the left button of the remote control, the room can be turned 180 degrees around the viewer. The right button switches gravity on or off.

The user can interact with different objects in the room by touching them with the remote control. The objects that are in the room are taken from different times and therefore appear anachronistic. The possibility to turn the entire room upside down allows the user to dive into the water and explore a different terrain. By manipulating the gravitational forces at the same time, the disorientation becomes complete.

Dissociation (Nils Becker and Nava Dannenhauer)

The project deals with the question “How, where and who am I and what influence does my environment have on me?” Virtual Reality offers the opportunity to fundamentally question the self-image and meaning of physicality in a new way. The player does not act with his body, but only with his consciousness, whose perceptual impressions arise and appear as real only in the mainly photogrammetrically created virtual world. This apparent reality, however, is disproved by the non-existence of his own body and the resulting lack of control over it. The viewer experiences a journey through a spiritually world, which makes him experience the concept of perception and the loss of physicality.

First of all, the player finds himself in a realistic room with a terracotta warrior standing on the middle of a table. By perceiving the figure, it draws the viewer under its spell and teleports him into its world. This allows him to participate in its history and reality. Without being able to interact with his environment, he delves further and further into it, until he finally becomes a terracotta statue himself. By absorbing what he has seen the player finds himself as a statue on the table, back in the starting room. Instead of a loss of reality, in this case one could speak of a gain in reality, caused by a new level of reality, the Virtual Reality. Through its technique it offers an additional foundation for fantasy and new possibilities of representation.

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