Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#289 / Virtual Actors

The article from which I took the image above was published in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, September 24th. The article was republished in the San Jose Mercury News on Sunday, October 5th, which is where I read it. 

Pictured is Canadian actor Robbie Amell, who plays a superhero in an upcoming television series. The image shows Amell being digitized. 

Unwilling to live within the constraints found in the "Natural World," we are creating "Virtual Worlds" in which anything is possible. 

Just one word of warning: Those virtual worlds, where superheroes always win, are "fantastic" in more ways than one. Striking, inspiring, energizing.

And fake.

Ultimately, we depend on that "Natural World," which defines the limits of reality. 

"Real" reality is something different from the digitized version.

Image Credit:


  1. While I agree that "Real" reality is something different from the digitized version, I don't see this technology as any different from other "traditional" forms of animation.

    Yes, fiction and film are forms of unreality, as is advertising and other media for thought manipulation. In The Unreality Industry: The Deliberate Manufacturing of Falsehood and What It Is Doing to Our Lives, Ian I. Mitroff explored this in 1993. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) and Bill McKibben (before he was devoured by the Global Warming gods) in The Age of Missing Information 1992, wrote about the creation of unreality as a distraction and misrepresentation of reality.

    Jerry Mander wrote about this in In the Absence of the Sacred, pointing out what happened to indigenous cultures with the introduction of television into Native communities in Canada.

    The problem is not so much the media themselves as is the human inability to distinguish between media fiction and reality. There's something about human perception that crosses the boundary between fact and fiction. In addition to media manipulation, we see it in religion, politics and popular culture. Critical thinking, the ability to analyze information from various sources, compare them and come to rational conclusions about their application to reality, is what seems to be lacking in today's societies.

    Jerry Mander, again, wrote about this strange characteristic of television in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. I read this when it was published in 1978 and immediately stopped watching television, unto today. I also don't pay attention to advertising and 99 44/100% of what passes for content on the Internet.

    This ubiquitous substitution of propaganda for information has reduced democracy to a sham in most of the western world.

    “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. An informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy.” Thomas Jefferson

  2. What is this, Gary? A treatise against fiction? Are you kidding?


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