From Corporeality to Virtual Reality: Theorizing Literacy, Bodies, and Technology in the Emerging Media of Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

This dissertation explores the relationships between literacy, technology, and bodies in the emerging media of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR). In response to the recent, rapid emergence of new media forms, questions arise as to how and why we should prepare to compose in new digital media. To interrogate the newness accorded to new media composing, I historicize the literacy practices demanded by new media by examining digital texts, such as video games and software applications, alongside analogous “antiquated” media, such as dioramas and museum exhibits. Comparative textual analysis of analogous digital and non-digital VR, AR, and MR texts reveals new media and “antiquated” media utilize common characteristics of dimensionality, layering, and absence/presence, respectively. The establishment of shared traits demonstrates how media operate on a continuum of mutually held textual practices; despite their distinctive forms, new media texts do not represent either a hierarchical or linear progression of maturing development. Such an understanding aids composing in new VR, AR, and MR media by enabling composers to make fuller use of prior knowledge in a rapidly evolving new media environment, a finding significant both for educators and communicators. As these technologies mature, we will continue to compose both traditional and new forms of texts. As such, we need literacy theory that attends to both the traditional and the new and also is comprehensive enough to encompass future acts of composing in media yet to emerge.

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Odd Adrian Mikk...