Queering virtual reality with drag realness: a case study of a creative investigation

Bennett, A and Beckwith, M 2018, 'Queering virtual reality with drag realness: a case study of a creative investigation', Refractory: a journal of entertainment media, vol. 30, pp. 1-12.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Queering virtual reality with drag realness: a case study of a creative investigation
Author(s) Bennett, A
Beckwith, M
Year 2018
Journal name Refractory: a journal of entertainment media
Volume number 30
Start page 1
End page 12
Total pages 12
Publisher Swinburne University of Technology
Abstract This text unpacks intersections between virtuality and drag that emerged during the making of a VR artwork called Virtual Drag made by Alison Bennett, Megan Beckwith and Mark Payne. Whilst making the work, we realised that drag offers some useful pathways for thinking about virtual reality. The intersections between virtuality and drag stem from ways of speaking about virtual reality as simulation and the drag definition of realness. This video will discuss the motivations behind the project, how it was made and the impact of the work. We will then unpack the key proposition generated through making the work: what might the drag concept of realness reveal about the structures that constitute virtual reality? As a creative investigation, the VR work was not an illustration of a preconceived theoretical argument or position. The theoretical potential and implications of the work unfolded as the work was made and exhibited. The discussion will include definitions of virtuality as both emergence and dissolution. We reference Baudrillard's notion of the collapse of the distinction between the real and the virtual. These ideas are then compared with Drag conceptions of realness. Starting with Butler's proposition of gender as simulacra, a copy of a copy, drag realness resonates with virtuality, the manifestation of the constructed and contingent frameworks of culture and identity, the liminal vector between ideal and tangible. These propositions surfaced as tangible through making Virtual Drag. We want to talk about how queer thinking and conceptual ideas about drag can open up interesting possibilities for thinking about virtual reality. We want to think about queering virtual reality not simply in terms of content but also in terms of the processes employed when we make work, the aesthetic and technical choices we make as part of that process. The key proposition that arises out of this case study is that drag offers useful pathways for rethinking structures that consti
Subject Electronic Media Art
Keyword(s) virtual reality
queer theory
Copyright notice © 2018 The individual authors hold copyright. If material is re-published elsewhere it must include a statement that it was originally published by Refractory. The editors reserve the right to maintain permanent archival copies of all submissions.
ISSN 1447-4905
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