[ISEA2010] Paper: Diane Gromala, Meehae Song & Steven J. Barnes – Better Than Opiates


To assume that immersive “VR is dead” is premature. It belies a lack of cultural, historical and technological knowledge, or signals the peculiar foggy hangover that results from a common conflation, frozen in time – entanglements of a giddy technological imaginary with attendant utopian and distopian visions, disappointments born of early technophilic hyperbole and the twinned forces of technological imperatives that march arm-in-arm with knowledge regimes that privilege the always-ever-new (Lyotard, 1985).
Although research in VR has waned in the realms of Computer Science and Interactive Art, a diversity of other disciplines have quietly but significantly expanded its scope and everyday use. Further, ideas derived from early work in VR continue to inform other practices in ways that remain invisible and under-examined.

  • Research Chair Dr. Diane Gromala (CA) teaches in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at Simon Fraser University, Canada. Gromala’s work has been exhibited and published worldwide and is in use at over 20 hospitals and clinics.
  • Meehae Song (CA) is currently a Ph.D. student at the School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Simon Fraser University, Song has been working with various VR applications from 2000. Her interests lie in exploring the uses of VR spaces for addressing issues of chronic pain and therapy.
  • Dr. Steven J. Barnes: Initially trained as a visual artist, Steven subsequently became a behavioural neuroscientist – his focus is on the topics of learning and memory, emotion, and neurological and psychiatric disorders. He currently teaches neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, and creates VR applications.

Full text (PDF) p.  338-339