‘Arms on the Brain’: Virtual Reality and a New Era of Storytelling and Immersion

Professor Angela Ndalianis, Department of Media and Communication, Swinburne University of Technology


Entertainment media have always engaged audiences – in varying degrees – through combinations of storytelling practices, emotional and sensory experiences, cognitive processes and bodily impact.  Focusing on examples such as the VR films Notes on Blindness, Tree and Allumette, and the VR game Batman Arkham VR, in this talk I examine how VR film and video game experiences have upped the ante on the experience of the traditional spectatorial body. Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Playstation VR and Google Daydream are VR systems that are creating new types of kinesthetic experiences for the participant that perceptually blur the borders of corporeal/technological materialities. The talk will end with an alternative perspective on this boundary-crossing by turning to Sight Machine, the creation of artist Trevor Paglan, which responds to and visualises a performance by the Kronos Quartet in real time using A.I. technology.

Presenter Bio:

Angela Ndalianis is Professor in Media + Entertainment, Department of Media and Communication at Swinburne University of Technology. Her research focuses on entertainment culture, the history of media technologies and how they mediate our experience of the world around us. She is also interested in the transhistorical and transcultural manifestation of the baroque. Her publications include Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment (2004), Science Fiction Experiences (2010), The Horror Sensorium; Media and the Senses (2012) and the edited book The Contemporary Comic Book Superhero (2009), and co-edited anthologies Neo-baroques: From Latin America to the Hollywood Blockbuster (2016) and Fans and Videogames: Histories, Fandom, Archives (2017). She is currently completing the book Batman: Myth and Franchise (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming 2017).

Professor Angela Ndalianis




The University of Queensland Art Museum James and Mary Emelia Mayne Centre (Building 11), St Lucia