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virtualart at culture.hu-berlin.de virtualart at culture.hu-berlin.de
Mon Jan 20 14:36:07 PST 2003

--Apologies for Cross-Posting---

 From Illusion to Immersion
by Oliver Grau
A Leonardo Book published by MIT Press
(January 2003, ISBN 0-262-07241-6, 7 x 9, 360 pp., 89 illus)

"Equally at home in art history, media history, and new
media art, Grau situates immersive image spaces of new media within a  
historical landscape. A must-read for anyone interested in new media,
visual culture, art history, cinema, and all other fields that use  
(Lev Manovich, author of The Language of New Media)

"Dismiss Oliver Grau's new book as a German multimedia theorist's  
treatise on art, and you'll miss a great read. Underneath its stald
packaging, Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion puts forth the sort  
provocative insights that any Newromancer fan can appreciate."
(WIRED, January 2003)

CONTENT: Going beyond technical and ahistorical views of media art,  
Grau analyzes what is really new in media art by focusing on recent work
against the backdrop of historic developments. Although many people view
virtual and mixed realities as a totally new phenomenon, it has its
foundations in an unrecognized history of immersive images. The search  
illusionary visual space can be traced back to antiquity. Oliver Grau  
how virtual art fits into the art history of illusion and immersion and
shows how each epoch used the technical means available to produce  
illusion from Pompeiis Villa dei Misteri via baroque frescoes,  
immersive cinema to the CAVE. He describes the metamorphosis of the
concepts of art and the image and relates those concepts to interactive
art, interface design, agents, telepresence, and image evolution. Grau
retells art history as media history, helping us to understand the
phenomenon of immersion beyond the hype.

GRAU also examines those characteristics of virtual reality that
distinguish it from earlier forms of illusionary art and thus shows us  
is really new in media art. His analysis draws on the work of  
artists and groups ART+COM, Maurice Benayoun, Charlotte Davies, Monika
Fleischmann, Ken Goldberg, Agnes Hegedues, Eduardo Kac, Knowbotic  
Laurent Mignonneau, Michael Naimark, Simon Penny, Daniela Plewe, Paul
Sermon, Jeffrey Shaw, Karl Sims, Christa Sommerer, and Wolfgang Strauss.
Grau offers not just a history of illusionary space but also a  
framework for analyzing its phenomenologies, functions, and strategies
throughout history and into the future.

Quotes from the press:
"A key book -- Oliver Grau's art historical study taps into the new  
image spaces." (Frankfurter Allgemeine)

"The parallels revealed are astounding." (Sueddeutsche Zeitung)

Oliver Grau is a new-media art historian and lectures at the
Department of Art History, Humboldt University in Berlin. He is a
visiting professor at the Kunstuniversity Linz and is head of the
German Science Foundation project on Immersive Art in Berlin, also he
is developing the first international data base resource for virtual
(See also:  

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