The Academic Magazine Ausart has published a new number dedicated to Art and its utility for education. I was able to include an article where I think over the chance of theater and virtual reality as a humanities method.
Although the so-called exact sciences have an extensively contrasted laboratory for centuries, where objective qualities of various phenomena of the world are put to the test quantitatively, the same does not happen with the Humanities. The relative character of its object -the human beings and their forms of artistic and philosophical expression, mainly- as well as the subjective nature of the faculties they put into play -sensitivity, affections and even historical awareness- make the modern scientific laboratory method is not enough in this area of research. To respond to this problem, theater may be an appropriate methodology, as philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze or Graham Harman have proposed in recent years. While there are certain disagreements between these two philosophers, this article aims to show important common features as well as the way in which both conceptions of theater and philosophy can be reinforced by the application of new technologies – virtual and / or augmented reality – giving place to the contemporary Digital Humanities laboratories based on simulation, immersion and interaction.
The actor can touch or perceive a sensual object -represented with the green triangle- but which, as such, is annulled -tainted- because a virtual object -in this case the flame- gives rise that we do not perceive as such, but through its qualities virtual. In turn, the real qualities of the immediate object of interaction -the green triangle receive, through its real qualities -sensors connected in line- the data flows of other external objects, thus opening the theater to what happens outside – the dispassionate relations of knowledge that Harman proposes. In this way, the two interactions Harman describes with respect to objects are coupled in the scenic space: a more theatrical and metaphorical one, based on passionate sensation -would lead to fascination with the virtual object as a flame of fire-; and a cognitive interaction, more sober, neutral and dispassionate, where fascination as conditioning does not enter – the reception of data flows that modify virtual or augmented reality generated as information-. Finally, the differences that Harman establishes between the real object referring to the metaphor and the sensual object referring to knowledge, are unified in this model into a single virtual object that, while seducing and fascinating us, can also inform us of what is happening outside -for example, the size or color of the flame increases or decreases according to a certain flow of data received through social networks-.