Virtual Materialism —
Virtual Materialism is a tool to explore production, consumption and communication within virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. Working with this tool means taking a pragmatic path of involvement and critical perception of VR and AR.
Virtual Materialism binds together Virtual Realism (Heim) and New Materialism (Hayles, Parisi, Terranova) and focuses on research about different socio-technological aspects of virtual and augmented reality.
Virtual Materialism inquires about the digital materiality of VR and AR: it asks about complex relationship between embodiment and information, about potential of data surveillance; about corporate work, free and open source software and playbor (labor as a play); it is a search for post-work imaginings and an inquiry into conditions of the immersive capitalism we will be living in.
The Ultimate Shopping Mall:
The Era of Immersive Capitalism.
In times of hybrid realities, from the point of view of our complex situatedness, the virtual is the integral part of the new real. Until “we”* recognize this situation, we´ll stay too vulnerable to the market.
It will be like never before.
1. There is nothing immaterial about the virtual. Every bit and byte needs energy, each shader enough computing power, every collision detection needs it´s input, each interaction needs its body, more than ever before.
2. Talking about virtual and augmented reality means talking about bifurcated situatedness in immersive capitalism. Only if we recognize our standpoint, we can take a stand.
3. Immersive capitalism will represent important areas of experimentation with value and free affective labor. It will leverage within corporate feminism of current #WomenInTech.
4. VR and AR are strong affective media targeting directly the “missing half a second” between reflex and conscious reflection. Through their ability to create an automation of response – where one does not have to elaborate, or cognize, but affectively feel what does not physically exist – is their potential to control our perception to a much higher extend than by all previously known media.
5. VR and AR are highly immersive commodities. VR is a commodity that insists on being consumed, at each level, because at each level it becomes more obsolete. AR is a commodity that insists on being consumed, because it takes the consuming for consumption’s sake to its perfection. As its tools and platforms will grow, they will smartly turn most of its users to producers.
6. VR and AR will become smart data collectors which delivers data about our habits and desires. As by other networked media, the retribution for a blind trust will be the loss of last bits of privacy. As producers and consumers, we need to request transparency about our data.
7. Immersive Capitalism is a framework to ensure the similarity of reactions, a controlled environment which trained us to have less reflection, react more affective, and for which our data and voluntarily shared labor are commodities while emotions are products.
It has never been much different.
* LGBTQ, people of color, #womenInTech, Summers (no Morties and Ricks), the significant others, now defined as a target group of new technologies, the producers and consumers of new Futurama versions of network realities