Jacki More: “Female Artists and the VR Crucible: Expanding the Aesthetic Vocabulary”

January 24, 2012 | San Francisco, CA

Speaker: Jacki Morie
Host: The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE)

Virtual Reality was a technological wonder in its early days, and it was widely held to be a domain where men were the main practitioners. However, a survey done in 2007 of VR Artworks (Immersive Virtual Environments or VEs) showed that women have actually created the majority of artistic immersive works. This argues against the popular idea that the field has been totally dominated by men. While men have made great contributions in advancing the field, especially technologically, it appears most artistic works emerge from a decidedly feminine approach. Such an approach seems well suited to immersive environments as it incorporates aspects of inclusion, wholeness, and a blending of the body and the spirit. Female attention to holistic concerns fits the gestalt approach needed to create in a fully functional yet open-ended virtual world, which focuses not so much on producing a finished object (like a text or a sculpture) but rather on creating a possibility for becoming, like bringing a child into the world. Immersive VEs are not objective works of art to be hung on a wall and critiqued. They are vehicles for experience, vessels to live within for a piece of time.