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Boris Buzek

From heavens to clouds. Virtual realities in the cultural history of narration

Creating virtual worlds and alternative realities are the core element of literature's over two thousand year old tradition of writing and reading, of narrating and listening. From the heavenly kingdoms of the theosophic poets, the novelist's moral cosmos, up to contemporary science fiction: literature brings conceptual realities into being.

Key to the opening of these alternative worlds – their creation and accessing equally – is however the empowerment of imagination. Imaginative practices are the stimulus that mediates the shifting realities and interweaves fictionality and actuality; the truth of the mind and the truth of the senses. Consecutive and varying media constellations have been deployed through the centuries to implement and actualize this creative power.

Are the latest developments of virtual and mixed reality devices just a new chapter in this media history? Which mutual and which varying characteristics and processes can be identified and have to be accounted when it comes to the imaginative and narrative techniques, the considered impact on our conception of reality, as to the recognizable creative potentials? And after all, what is the relevance a virtual reality is able to establish by itself and for its own existence?