Mutual Reality: The Future of Interactive Art


Session Title:

  • Interactive Media Theory

Presentation Title:

  • Mutual Reality: The Future of Interactive Art



  • Mutual Reality is the next step in virtual reality and interactive composition. Computers have given artists a new creative opportunity because of their capacity to respond to viewer interactions; and now the challenge for artists is to create meaningful interactivity for viewers in environments involving multiple users. Mutual reality, simply put, may be thought of as multi-user virtual reality. How can artists compose virtual environments that function effectively as more than ‘chatrooms’: How can we use the capabilities of computers to bring viewers together in virtual environments in ways that make them consider the meaning and intent of the artist/maker as well as that of each other? These compositions of performance art and architecture in thin air, these mutual reality environment will become a major design challenge as well as a wonderful creative opportunity for expression for artists in the coming years. This paper will examine mutual reality and its implications, opportunities and challenges as manifested in a new project, a virtual reality Moon Landing project, designed to be released to the public on the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, July 1994. We will outline ideas and considerations of technology and its implementation and will discuss issues of popular culture, transgression of electronic art from the effetism of the gallery to the homes of the public over the Internet, and the relationships of artists to the public brought about by changing technology and its effect on the human spirit of our time.