Virtual Reality Erotica by Natacha Merritt. Fabbula magazine

What is Virtual Reality?

Scrambling into Mixed Reality. November, 2015. Natacha Merritt diary, #4.

By Natacha Merritt

I spent the day chasing my tail. Trying to figure out where these great experiences that I know exist are. They are nearly all only on PC. So many conversations and assumptions, but where is the art?

I know it’s here but it’s still so hard to see. Yet there is a confluence — a whirlwind of energy around this. So many people reaching out to me because I’ve posted some articles about VR. So much to discuss about it all. Tilt brush, photogrammetry, mono, stereo, stereo pairs and arrays and even 3 sided green screens with custom roof to recreate the experience of being in VR in a film. So much information exciting information. I chew on new vocabulary like sticky salty caramels. I try not to get caught up in the magic of the technologies. I’m focused on the larger mystery. I’m trying to find the emotion that I can taste everywhere but just can’t describe yet. 5 skype calls with VR artists from around the world. From Neurologists to sculptors. I even end up in a conversation about building sexual avatar animations with the only other woman on VR Chat. She offers to give me a tour of the cybersex market, she’s been around for while.

We have a quick unscheduled exchange via skype. She’s struggling to get her orcas to swim around the bay. Someone called her a cunt, which was amazingly the first time she’s experienced that in VR Chat. I’m not sure how to react. Part of me wants to be a smart ass and say it could be kind of sexy… but I know it’s not. She didn’t ask for it and no safe word applied. She tells me that sex with avatars is so great because the visuals satisfy the men and the women love it because the men are forced to talk. I stay silent. Silent meaningless sex still sounds wonderful.

Our new mixed reality world sprawls out in front of me with such force. And then a bunch of my non tech world friends reach out because they just got their first cardboard VR headset with the sunday edition of the NYtimes. The problem with the experiences is that even though in theory it’s great to feel empathy for others, but in practice it’s never the right time to sit and watch it…How will we all make emotional space for so many more strong feelings? If this medium creates empathy, will we co-evolve alongside it to have a larger capacity to care for others? And will this in turn lead to greater altruistic action?

Natacha Merritt© 2015. All rights reserved.