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Understanding New Media

Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition


Robert K. Logan

Marshall McLuhan made many predictions in his seminal 1964 publication, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man. Among them were his predictions that the Internet would become a «global village,» making us more interconnected than television; the closing of the gap between consumers and producers; the elimination of space and time as barriers to communication; and the melting of national borders. He is also famously remembered for coining the expression «the medium is the message.» These predictions form the genesis of this updated volume by Robert K. Logan, a friend and colleague who worked with McLuhan. In this second edition of Understanding New Media Logan expertly updates McLuhan’s Understanding Media to analyze the «new media» McLuhan foreshadowed and yet was never able to analyze or experience. The book is designed to reach a new generation of readers as well as appealing to scholars and students who are familiar with Understanding Media.
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Chapter 47. Virtual Reality (VR) and Simulations


← 378 | 379 →

· 47 ·


Content and extension: Virtual reality (VR) and simulations extend reality and flip into hyper-reality.

Cascade: The cascade is from the mind of the virtual reality or simulation creator to sundry textual, auditory, and visual media through computer hardware, software, and peripherals to the body, sense organs, and mind of the user(s).

LOM: Virtual reality enhances gaming and training for dangerous missions, obsolesces reality, retrieves fantasy, and reverses into unreality and hyperreality.

47.1  What Is VR?

“Virtual reality is immersive, which means that it is a medium whose purpose is to disappear.”

—Bolter and Grusin (1999, p. 21) ← 379 | 380 →

There is a sense in which writing was the virtual reality of speech; print the virtual reality of writing; the telephone the virtual reality of the voice; movies and then television the virtual reality of plays, spectacles, and live events; and pornography the virtual reality of sex. Any medium that imitates another medium is a form of virtual reality.

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