Antonin Artaud was the first person to write “Virtual Reality” in his The Theatre and its Double. The theatre and scenic arts are essential fields of research for creation in VR, namely for their constant concern about constructing spaces, illusions, stage settings and the dynamics that bring spectators, actors and creators together.
“All true alchemists know that the alchemical symbol is a mirage as the theater is a mirage. And this perpetual allusion to the materials. and the principle of the theater found in almost all alchemical books should be understood as the expression of an identity (of which alchemists are extremely aware) existing between the world in which the characters, objects, images, and in a general way all that constitutes the virtual reality of the theater develops, and the purely fictitious and illusory world in which the symbols of alchemy are evolved.
These symbols, which indicate what might be called philosophical states of matter, already start the mind on its way toward that fiery purification, that unification and that emaciation (in a horribly simplified and pure sense) of the natural molecules; on its way toward that operation which permits, by sheer force of destructive analysis, the reconception and re constitution of solids according that equilibrium of spiritual descent by which they ultimately become gold again. It is not sufficiently understood how much the material symbolism used to designate this mysterious operation corresponds to a parallel symbolism in the mind, a deployment of ideas and appearances by which all that is theatrical in the theater is designated and can be distinguished philosophically.”
The Alchemical Theater. The Theatre and its double. 1938. Antonin Artaud