[TISEA 1992] Panel: Nancy Paterson – Lust & Wanderlust: Sex & Tourism in a Virtual World

Panel Statement

Creative responses to the new technologies of virtual reality (VR) will rest with those for whom the burden of the world has become unspeakable. In the hands of the disenchanted – the artists, the intellectuals, and the philosophers – VR represents a challenge, an opportunity, but ultimately a necessary expression of experience in the electronic era. A final overture towards the reconciliation of technological utopianism with the human spirit. Life is a travelling to the edge of knowledge – and the leap taken from that point. Boundaries are made by those who cross them. When art, literature and music no longer offer the viewer, the listener, or the reader a compelling alternative, escape, or meaningful reflection on what has traditionally been defined as the sensory world, new creative forms will be developed to take their place. We are moving from an age of collaborative computing into an age of pervasive computing. Electronic technology represents for us the development of an external central nervous system. And inevitably, our hearts will truly beat within the machine. The symbiotic relationship with electronic technology is a very intimate one, and bears close scrutiny. In particular, the media of VR represents an undisguised extension of our needs and desires and abilities. Applications of these technologies, whether for medical imaging, computer-aided design, or interactive virtual environments, will suffer if not informed and guided by a recognition and respect for the sacred. Ritual must be incorporated into a media which threatens to be overwhelmed by the profane – linear comprehension and manipulation of pure information.

This paper will present recent developments and current applications of virtual reality technologies in the pornographic publishing and tourist industries. The ‘recreational’ industries of tourism and pornography have already been changed by the western world’s tendency toward the creation of virtual environments and experiences. Telephone sex and high budget amusement theme parks offer the opportunity to momentarily escape into alternate worlds.
The World Travel and Tourism Council reporting that world travel generates a figure equalling 5.5% of the planet’s gross national product, described tourism as the world’s largest industry. Pornography also generates high revenues. The release or escape which these industries enable, will be heightened through the development and application of virtual reality systems which provide the environments and experience with none of the inconveniences or distractions.

  • Nancy Paterson,¬†Charles Street Video, Canada