Living in the Matrix: Virtual Reality Systems and Hyperspatial Representation in Architecture

By Gul Kacmaz Erk.

Published by The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: December 5, 2016 Free Download

In the digital age, the hyperspace of virtual reality systems stands out as a new spatial concept creating a parallel realm to “real” space. Virtual reality influences one’s experience of and interaction with architectural space. This “otherworld” brings up the criticism of the existing conception of space, time and body. Hyperspaces are relatively new to designers but not to filmmakers. Their cinematic representations help the comprehension of the outcomes of these new spaces. Visualisation of futuristic ideas on the big screen turns film into a medium for spatial experimentation. Creating a possible future, The Matrix (The Wachowskis 1999) takes the concept of hyperspace to a level not-yet-realised but imagined. With a critical gaze at the existing norms of architecture, the film creates new horizons in terms of space. In this context, this study introduces science fiction cinema as a discussion medium to understand the potentials of virtual reality systems for the architecture of the twenty-first century. As a “role model,” cinema helps to better understand technological and spatial shifts. It acts as a vehicle for going beyond the spatial theories and designs of the twentieth century and for defining the conception of space in contemporary architecture.

Keywords: Virtual Reality Systems, Hyperspace, Architectural Space, The Matrix, Science Fiction Cinema

The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp.13-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: December 5, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 607.525KB)).

Dr. Gul Kacmaz Erk

Lecturer and Course Leader in Architecture, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK