Skip to main content
Now building my TET.Life Store.

Virtual Reality Addiction Meets Online Shopping and Death!

I'm certainly not the first person to predict the idea of immersive virtual worlds. Movies like Tron (1982) and The Lawnmower Man (1992) are two of the earliest popular culture references to the concept I can think of, off the top of my head. Then of course there is The Matrix (1999) where the VR world idea really hit the mainstream big time.

However, back in early 2005, the practice of online shopping, with real money, for digital products in virtual worlds like Second Life (which was more cutting edge back then) began to meld in my mind with the idea of corporations controlling that experience through marketing and advertising.


Artificial Intelligence was also a hot topic back then so of course that became a part of the mix. I thought corporations would probably use increasingly more advanced AIs to control their virtual worlds and shopping experience. Inevitably something in the programming would fail and virtual shopping could become unintentionally lethal.

All of this would amalgamate into a virtually reality experience that seems so real and immersive that participants would never want to leave their house. They'd simply plug themselves into a computer with their VR headset and waste hours hooked into 'the machine', spending real money on ones and zeroes. Virtual shoes, virtual clothes, virtual experiences etc.

My ideas would emerge around March 2005 as a series of nine short, poetic monologues, each telling a small part of the new world of VR addiction and corporate manipulation. Only two of the monologues made it to a finished art piece.

The first monologue, called 'Rachael', which I recorded as a performance video (below) back in 2008.



Rachael patched in a circuit board
wired to her brain.
The video was intended to be part of the first chapter of a blog I started at the time to feature the monologues and a much more detailed story tying them all together. That blog is now my Animation and Video blog but the first and only post of TET Reloaded, Shopping at Maceys, still exists complete with the opening story.

The accompanying sketch (above) shows Rachael with her Oculus Rift style VR headset plugged in to her computer. Keep in mind that although VR had tried and failed in the 1990s, by 2005 there wasn't really much happening in the mainstream world.

At the same time I began sketching my ideas for VR Headsets in preparation for my first image illustrating the fourth monologue that continues the story of Rachael.

VR Headset ideas by me in 2005.

Most of my headset designs are wired to match the lines in the monologue but if you look at the designs they're not unlike some of the headsets around today. Not that I'm saying I'm a forerunner to any of the current designs. It's not exactly a stretch of the imagination to plan a headset that obviously will need a screen placed in close proximity to the eyes but I'm not too far off what we have now.

Probably the only real difference is I didn't foresee mobile phone screens would be the driving force behind affordable VR head wear. Heck if you have a modern mobile phone you can enjoy VR with Google Cardboard - probably the cheapest option. Phones don't just provide the ideal screen size for a headset, they also include all the necessary gyroscopic and geo-location features required by VR to keep your orientation accurate in the VR world.

Currently VR is gaining much momentum. Could we be heading to VR Armageddon? Not in the immediate future but something like the scenario outlined in my fourth monologue, titled 'Stealing', is not that far fetched. See and read the artwork below.

Rachael's online, VR Shopping addiction solved
by faulty programming... perhaps?

In my monologues the 'nightmare' in question is described as 'The Fabulous Machine'. Some insight can be gained into what it is in the seventh monologue titled 'Revenue Raisers'. This is the first time I've published it anywhere...

Revenue Raisers


It looks like some twisted underworld,
But this is what everyone wants.
Queues to get in,
To be at one with a fantasy.
Better than life.
A promise for everything you,
Ever wanted,
Without getting anything,
Except a debit to your,
Charge Card.
This was the mask that,
Hides a Fabulous Machine.
Revenue Raisers for corporate giants.
Plug yourself in and have,
The money sucked out of your life.

- TET (24th April 2005)

It's certainly a little bleak but shopping yourself to death in a VR world sounds a lot more fun than being enslaved by our machine overlords post singularity.

Who knows where VR will lead us to? Hopefully something better than all of us choosing VR over real life. Unlike reality, VR can be like a cartoon... anything is possible. That's a drug that's easy to become addicted to.

Comments


Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET

Popular posts from this blog

Guest Post: MY SOOPER DOOPER NEW CONSERVATORY/ART STUDIO!

Today's guest post is by Artist, Writer, and Mental Health Advocate, Jo B Creative who writes for her blog, Creating My Oddessey.

You should see our (almost) brand new conservatory, half of which is my art studio. 'Lucky me!' I think to myself. Not every creative bod can boast that. It's HUGE! Like a giant greenhouse.

We first moved to our pleasant cul-de-sac house - great for raising kids - when our son, who's on the cusp of thirty-one, was four. One of the main reasons that we wanted it was that, apart from its location on the fringes of a historic market town in rural Hampshire, UK, it had a sizable conservatory looking onto the back garden. It was brown wood framed and had a corrugated transparent roof sloping down from downstairs ceiling height. On the face of it, it doesn't sound that glamourous, but we loved the idea of a conservatory. Luxury! I even liked the red brick walls which it was built against - the original exterior of the house - and the light …

Kids today are smarter than their parents?

How often have you heard it said that kids today are smarter than their parents? I’ve heard it quite frequently in the media – even Dr Phil has said it. I say speak for your self. It’s not true and don’t let the media fool you.

Today’s kids may have access to more information that may give them more choices but in my experience, they only take in what they want to hear and still make stupid, uninformed decisions. Just like we used to at their age.

Like any cross section of people there will be exceptions. There are kids that are genuinely smarter, more mature and responsible for their age. However the vast majority know everything they need to know by the time they turn fourteen. They’re ‘adult’ enough to be responsible for all their own decision making so parents should just let them do what they please…right? Just like we thought at fourteen.

Don’t be fooled. Just because your son knows how to download MP3’s onto an ipod, or your daughter can chat to five friends at the same time on he…

Boom Crash Opera Born Classic But Not Again

Boom Crash Opera are an Australian Band that reached the peak of their popularity in the mid to late nineteen eighties. They are a band that I knew about at that time but was never really excited by until they released their ill fated double album Born and Born Again in 1995 (Album cover pictured).

At the time of its release I was very much into emerging Australian musical acts and was also looking out for new sounds that were different and had kind of a futuristic/electronic sound. Artists that I was buying at the time included; Swoop, Nine Inch Nails and Pop Will Eat Its Self. As well as a really interesting release by David Bowie, the concept album, Outside.

Born was a fairly radical departure for Boom Crash Opera (BCO). The first single, Gimme, was often compared to the sounds of Gary Glitter, particularly his single, Rock n Roll part 2, because of the pounding drum loops. Watch the video below.



My favorite single from the album is dissemble which probably went nowhere on the char…

Finding Time to Skate - Swap a Skateboard Session into Your Weekly Workout Routine

A common problem among skaters dealing with work/life commitments (typically older skaters with families, careers, or both) is finding the time to actually spend on a skateboard. In fact, life in general getting in the way of skateboarding, is what often leads so many to drop out of the sport, only to rediscover it later, once everything else starts to even out.

I'm certainly in that category. Never really giving skateboarding away altogether but only using a skateboard to get from A to B, when I didn't have a vehicle, for many years. In the last couple of years I've been trying to get back into the sport properly, i.e. building up my trick list and skating for fun and not just to get from A to B.

The problem is I have so many interests, projects, paid work, and more, that I would often leave skateboarding to the end of my day. Kind of as something to look forward to. Except I wouldn't be that motivated to really improve because my mind would be fried from everything …

What If Being Yourself Isn't Good Enough?

One of my most personal public videos is a collection of outtakes edited together with my narration, read word for word, from my blog post written back on August 5th, 2007 titled Is Being Me Good Enough? I made the similarly titled video the next day.

At the time the video (which you can view below) generated some discussion in the comments and was a real turning point for me personally in how I thought about myself and how I presented on camera. It took a weight off my shoulders.


[Note that especially for this article I've re-edited and re-uploaded the video to Youtube because the last sentence on the original version was cut off by Youtube's uploader. The new version is identical other than I've added a title screen at the beginning and cropped the footage for 16:9 ratio - plus added some length to the end to ensure it doesn't get the last line cut again.]

I came to be thinking about this video again because of my latest video diaries - which I will be the first to a…

"You are the Generation that bought more shoes..."

"You are the generation that bought more shoes, you get what you deserve." This quote is a song lyric that I heard on the radio (my apologies to the writer and artist that it belongs too because I don't know who either of you are). It's a great line and I can only assume it refers to the apparent lack of interest today's eighteen to twenty somethings appear to have in more serious and deeper issues.

Not that I'm trying to hold myself up as someone who campaigns strongly for the greater good of human kind or that I spend significant amounts of time raising awareness of important issues. I'm certainly not a poster boy for changing the attitudes of people with too many shoes but lyrics like that do make you think.

It's at this point that I really don't know where to go with this article. Should I focus on the material nature of modern society and its obsession with having more stuff? Or should I mention a few important issues, like Human Rights Abuses,…

Filming Myself Skateboarding - Finding a Balance and a Reliable Video Editor Phone App

I like filming myself skateboarding. The problem is I'm not interested enough in the filmmaking  process to film great shots or tell a compelling story each video to compensate for my lack of ability on a skateboard.

It's not that I'm bad at skateboarding, and I understand there is an audience of people who like to watch how other beginner (or aging relearner) skaters progress. I'm part of that audience.

As much as we love watching pro skaters video parts and competition runs, for many of us that level of skating isn't as relatable as watching someone going through the same struggle we're having with trying to land basic pop shove-its and kickflips.

I recently broke the drought of not making skateboard videos for the past six months by posting a new driveway skateboard session that I filmed, edited, and uploaded from my phone. You can watch it below.



This video would have had a bit more of a story had the bit in the middle, where I gave my initial thoughts on …