Confinement, virtual world and theater | A shared brain

Lockdown. This is the word of the year 2020 for the Fundación del Español Urgente (Fundéu RAE), promoted by the Efe Agency and the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) that annually selects the most representative term of those twelve months. I don’t think it will surprise anyone. Defined as “temporary and generally imposed isolation of a population, a person or a group for health or safety reasons”, the term “confinement”, we have all experienced in the dose horribilis that we just left behind. Right.

We will talk about the time of 2020 and a question that I raise for your reflection is what have we done during this isolation? Each one will have done their own thing, what they could, but if you ask the question in your family circle and / or friends, it will be strange that someone does not say they have spent time playing with the play, the console, the computer or the like Wow, you’ve spent your hours immersing electronic entertainment tasks in universes where you kill zombies, build cities, explode bombs, or who knows.

The reality imposed in the year that has just ended can make us reflect on the reality of leisure that is used more and more frequently today. It is difficult to meet today someone who does not use the personal computer for their leisure and that there are, there are, but it is not easy to find young and not so young people who have not experienced that high of adrenaline when risking life on line with his friends in programs that promise almost real, unique experiences, in which to enter different worlds to experience virtual realities. But the entertainment industry does not stop there, it tempts us with more. The gaming experience can now be complemented with the use of helmets, glasses and / or gloves with which to consume multimedia products to experience parallel realities to the real one, the so-called virtual reality. It seems that the lockdown has not been unreal enough as sales of this type of gadget have exploded in recent months. Or perhaps, yes it has been, but we prefer to “live” other realities, and I am not surprised. For those who do not know it, there are augmented, immersive or mixed virtual realities. I’m interested in trying immersives.

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They consist of software programs to which the user is hooks up with the aforementioned devices (glasses, helmets, gloves) with which to see, hear and touch a set of virtual scenarios that allow you to experience the feeling of belonging to them, a virtual universe that enables and promises real emotions, laughter, scares, in short experiences in unreal spaces difficult to feel in real life that claim precisely that, that you feel something real. And I wonder, what is more real than the theater? I have the feeling that this new reality offered is the tail of the whiting that bites its tail; begins with the head that is life, continues with the body that could be the reality that can be experienced in a theatrical performance to reach that tail that approaches the head and they promise “real” experiences. It’s a curious cycle. It is like the cycle of acting training in which you go through a quasi-circular pedagogical journey in search of constructing realities from which you start, not living them, although some intruders and impostors skip the process due to their ability to attract audiences for their mere existence and not their work.

The search for extra corporality in computer avatars could consist of the same process by which a theatrical spectator adheres to the illusion that is built from the stage, with one caveat: once I read something like the scene has to be transformed by art so that its false reality is recognized and treated as something that can change the true reality. In this way, the viewer is empowered to change life through theater. A computer game, no matter how real, can never change reality, so that tail of the whiting will never get bitten by the head. Virtual reality seeks to get closer to reality while scenic construction seeks to move away from it to transform it. Real life should not be confused with constructed stage reality that must be recognized as an illusion. The scene should not be a mirror of real life, but a transformation of it that enables ways for it to be changed. Virtual reality is far from these approaches, it is leisure. Theater is art.

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