"A movie that gives one sight and sound [...] taste, smell, and touch. [...] You are in the story, and instead of being on a screen, the story is all about you, and you are in it."
– Pygmalion’s Spectacles 1935
Cinema wants to become real - a new reality potentially more interesting than the one we inhabit. The dream of a consummate virtual reality simulation has obsessed science fiction writers and filmmakers for decades: aspiring toward high resolution, multi-sensory immersion, projected inside of a head-mounted display or directly plugged into the nervous system.
Cinema invented the virtual. The concept of VR was popularized and explored in science fiction films: from Welt am Draht [World on Wire] (1973) to eXistenz (1999) and Inception (2010). These stories serve as cautionary tales: anticipating the perceptual side-effects of hijacking human perception, and the problematic paradox of a simulation seemingly more real than reality itself.
The screening follows a chronology of virtual reality in cinema from 1935-2015, pairing excerpts from science fiction movies, corporate research and product demos.