Fear of Virtual Reality

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Virtual Reality (VR) has absorbed a great deal of attention in new media research. However, it is not always welcomed, especially with respect to the odd experience of dealing with the virtual world it provides. This paper is an attempt to understand the fear of VR by taking photography as a parameter. By discussing the importance of materiality in visual communications, photography’s taking process and VR’s making process, and two types of realities (i.e. the indexical and the simulacral) provided by photography and VR respectively, this paper analyzes the reason for the fear that VR has aroused, and suggests a critical though tolerant attitude towards VR and photography.