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Head-Mounted Display Screens: A (De)Construction of Sense-Certainty?

Michael Friedman


This essay addresses the philosophical and epistemological aspects of spatialization of the field of vision as manifested in two of the most cutting-edge innovations in the field of head-mounted displays (HMDs): Birdly and EyeSect. The notion of space in both installations is problematized. Birdly re-enacts the familiar ways of envisaging the Cartesian model of space: a point of origin is determined and, hence, the construction of space itself with its three redefined dimensions is established—the (anchor point of) certainty is given by the apparatus itself. With EyeSect, however, the field of vision disintegrates. This paper asserts that there is no fixed point of origin from which space can be constituted. Using a Deleuzian analysis of “nomad sciences,” this point is exposed—through the unconstrained operation of the cameras in perpetual motion—as an imaginary, unstable point of reference. While Birdly recreates a unified space through an apparatus that affords certainty, EyeSect disintegrates both the body, as the point of origin, and the “natural” perception of space, suggesting that a complete integration of these two notions is illusory at best.


HMD; Birdly; EyeSect; perception; VR; Descartes; Deleuze; nomadology; visuality

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