(Virtual) Reality

Reading response to Open Sky Part 3

Paul Virilio talks about a variety of things in his book, Open Sky.  For this post, I will be discussion what I found to be important from Part 3 of the book.  This will be the third and final post about Open Sky.

Continuing with his theme about how technology has changed our perceptions of the world, Virilio opens Part 3 by explaining how we see everything through some form of technology.  He again brings up the question of reality vs. virtual reality. But what I found to be the most interesting part of Part 3 was the section about film and movie theaters.

open skyVirilio goes into detail about how IMAX, 3D, and Omnimax have changed film.  Each of these three bring different aspects to the film.  IMAX, for example, is HUGE.  Everything about it is massive.  The screen is supersized and the sound equipment used is easily bigger than your car.  3D is, as the name suggests, in 3 dimensions.  The film literally jumps out at you.  Then there is Omnimax.  The dome shaped screen that allows for a complete panoramic view of the film.  Each allows the audience to be pulled into the film and believe it is more real that it actually is.

Again, people are losing their sense of what is reality and what is virtual reality.  Technology is only making society lose its concept of reality and virtual reality faster.  Technology allows people to live vicariously through it.  People live off their phones and their computers.  Games like Second Life allow people to leave the real world and life a “second life” on the Internet.  I’m sorry, but what is so appealing about sitting at a computer and playing a game about life when you could be living your real life?

There is no denying that technology has changed our way of life.  We are now dependent of technology to get us through our days.  I know I am addicted to technology.  I have a hard time putting my phone away for more than 10 minutes.  I love surfing the web and watching TV.  Virilio argues that this is harmful to society.  I disagree with what he wrote in Open Sky.  Yes, technology has changed how we live our lives, but this has had many great consequences.  Technologies like Skype allow me to talk with my dad while I am in school in South Carolina and he is away on business in Europe.  How is that bad?

Discussion Questions:

1) Do you agree with what Virilio wrote in Open Sky?

2) What are you opinions about people losing grasp of reality and virtual reality?

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