I’ve been noticing that a lot of the shared “virtual” reality experiences in my own research are highly asymmetric. Our team seems to be going for maximum disruption of recieved notions of shared space.
In our experiments, one avatar might be tiny and another huge, one appearing as a realistic human and another as a glowing ball of light. We are creating social experiences between people that place them in radically different vantage points.
One would think that trying to keep things as symmetric as possible would be the name of the game. But somehow that seems like a cop out, a reduction to the obvious. Distance lends value to proximity, and difference gives power to connection.
After all, isn’t our “common viewpoint” merely a well-learned illusion? No two human beings have ever had the same literal experience of reality, and nobody, other than you, has seen the unique sequence of images that form your particular visual life experience.
Yet you accept, without hesitation, that you share the same reality with other people who have never seen the images that have flowed into your eyes and your brain.
So why shouldn’t we explore radically different subjective experience? After all, isn’t that an apt metaphor for our actual experience of so called “real life”?