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March 31, 2011 / graceunsw

Mediated Reality

What is reality now? What produces it? These are arguably some of the most important questions of our time, yet are also some of the most difficult to grapple with.

Immediately, when I think of reality, and the constant intersection of virtual and real human experiences, I think of Peter Weir’s 1998 film ‘The Truman Show.’

This film is a (somewhat prophetic) example of the way that media interferes in the production and construal of reality, and the implications this has for both the individual and society. Murphie (2004, p.130) suggests that “we are dealing with a media culture in which there is an increased awareness that all the virtual structures that invisibly inhabit networked ecologies produce dynamic form and this feeds back into that which produces it.” This follows on from what I wrote in my last post about mnemotechnics, particularly that about the intrinsic connection between the mind, the body and the environment.

In my lifetime, I have been part of a society that is deeply fascinated with the notion of what constitutes reality, and how it can be subverted. I have grown up in the world of Big Brother, Second Life and Facebook, and have seen these unconventional realities (and a myriad of other examples) become integrated into daily life. This of itself is not overly surprisingly, and could be dismissed as just a twenty-first century case of a fad taking hold of the human psyche. What I believe is most important to this, is the nature of this integration, and the specific characteristics of reality that are conducive to its subversion.

Media is fundamental to our reality, in terms of intervention, exploitation, extension, substitution and rearrangement of our subjective experiences of the world.The more I think about this, the greater potential I see in it as a research topic to explore in much greater detail on another platform.

References:

Facebook in Real Life, 2008, online video, accessed 31 March 2011, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrFdOz1Mj8Q>

Murphie, A 2004, ‘The World as Clock: The Network Society and Experimental Ecologies,’ Topia, volume 11, pp.117-139

Second Life – the online 3D virtual world, 2009, online video, accessed 31 March 2011, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3gHCupXSMs>

The History of Big Brother, n.d., Big Brother World, accessed 31 March 2011, <http://www.bigbrother.com.au/history>

The Truman Show trailer, 1998, online video, accessed 31 March 2011, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkZM2oWcleM&feature=related>

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