What is Real in the Metaverse?

Work thumb

Views: 148

  • Title: What is Real in the Metaverse? : Realities of Image-Based Communication in Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities
  • Author(s): Andreas Schelske
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Image
  • Keywords: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Image-Based Knowledge, Semiotics, Sociology
  • Volume: 15
  • Issue: 1
  • Date: February 23, 2024
  • ISSN: 2154-8560 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8579 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8560/CGP/v15i01/1-15
  • Citation: Schelske, Andreas . 2024. "What is Real in the Metaverse? : Realities of Image-Based Communication in Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities ." The International Journal of the Image 15 (1): 1-15. doi:10.18848/2154-8560/CGP/v15i01/1-15.
  • Extent: 15 pages

Open Access

Copyright © 2024 Authors. Published By Common Ground Research Networks.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License(CC BY 4.0).

View License


The term metaverse characterizes computer-supported media in which primarily image-based forms of virtual realities, augmented realities, and mixed realities can be communicated. Considering these three media forms, two peculiarities stand out. First, pictorial signs create an immersive experience that makes images largely obsolete as a classic form of visual communication. And second, the three media forms cause social constructions of pictorial realities to become increasingly elastic. The following considerations will show how communicated realities in images become more elastic in varying between fact, fake, and fiction, or between sign and matter. Societies construct their image-based knowledge, but this remains purposeful only when consensual corridors orient what is to be considered real, virtual, actual, and moral. Further, the often-misunderstood oppositions between real and virtual are taken up to argue that the virtual is real but not actual. The social construction of image-based knowledge creates a virtual reality in the metaverse. This virtual reality is collectively experienced as real, but in its materiality it is often said to lack actuality. In the last century, the screen still protected the viewer from contact with the physical world. In the twenty-first century, the viewer is supposed to feel immersively involved in order to intensify real contact with virtual matter and virtual energy. The paper explores the question: How elastic can image-based knowledge be to be action-oriented when the actuality of virtual realities is collectively determined?