The Virtual Parallel World

  • Saskia Lubnow
  • fiona anderson
The virtual world is a rapidly growing mass medium, it’s significantly shaping our culture and society in the age of “simulation”1. The characters simulate an artificial and fictitious reality, where life itself becomes the optimization and experience2, rather than depict a real world. Entertainment implies addiction and obsession of adventure, seen as a repressing and hiding from society, those demanding to reinvent us, to fit-in perfectly and being constantly an infinite circular motion. The pre-image of man in the “flow3” is the playing child, which is located in the blissful state of being within-himself, implying freedom and total being-absorb of experiencing ongoing actions. Fictitious reality4 might be for man an escapism5 from fear and powerlessness as a consequence of the restrictions of social convention and a terrifying battle to survive6 in both real and virtual worlds. Others are seeking for social contacts with regard to love, affection and loneliness as expression for their absence in real life. Known as virtual parallel world, where man live-in a duplicated reality with endless satisfactions and possibilities. With games we fulfill our dreams8, adding omnipotence fantasies, “pretending as if”, constructing indications9 from our real life outside, because the people who are creating these games replacing emotions to dimensionalize the world they create. The technology of video games has allowed a true overlap in stimuli. Man, an interactive pixel in a virtual simulation confounds with reality and brings the difference between work and play in the disappearance.
Since ancient times man have not accepted their human condition, they have always looked for an escape from the real world. Religions gave them the possibility to live hoping for a better life after the death; novels, theatres and arts in general have the magic to make living possible in visionary situations, drugs alter our senses and shifting to delusions. All mentioned mediums, as substitution for nowadays technology, which are trying to make life easier, allow man to enter the virtual world. The empirical world has always been considered as a limit, apparently man has the necessity of unlimitedness. From the electronic glasses that increase our senses and our ability, to the common screen of tablets and smartphones, which offer a window to another, more sure and cybernetic landscape, than the urban reality. Next generation may single the existence in virtuality out by dilution reality like in a sort of matrix, to buy an endless virtual life while giant companies take care of the body, an all-inclusive service to get the “life of our dreams”.

1 Jean Baudrillard “Simulation theory”
2 Infinite Jest 5 June - 7 September 2014 Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Germany. The exhibition proposed an image of today's world with the individual at its center.
3 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1975) “Flow theory”
4 Jonathan Lethem “Chronic City” showing an autarkic universe covered with beauty spots, David Foster Wallace “Infinite Jest” code word for bleak vision of the future, as the end-point of human evolution. Shinji Mikami “The Evil Within” The game is played from a third-person perspective in which scavenging for supplies and learning when to fight or run are key factors in surviving. “Ghost in the shell” Ghost in the Shell 's plot revolves around a recruit of Public Security Section 9 as he investigates and combats the Human Liberation Front.
5 Jean Piaget “accommodation and assimilation”: for us to escape the socialization pressure from outside
6 Instinctual needs comprise protection to actually survive.
7 “Second Life” SL one developed in 2003 by the Californian IT company Linden Lab 3D simulation of a lifelike, interactive community ("metaverse") on the World Wide Web, the design of the participating individuals themselves, and may be further developed.
8 Sigmund Freud, saw the games as a product of imagination, which enables pleasurable experience as well as ability to handle conflicts.
9 “As gamers we are now living by the same laws of physics in the same cities and doing many of the same things we once did in real life, only virtually. For my virtual worlds are perfect. More beautiful and rich than the real world around us.” Quoted by David Perry’s student in Ted talk’s “Are games better than life?”