When Media Environments Become Real

It all started with the alpenhorn. An elderly woman entered the auditory and played this traditional Swiss instrument. The view from the university to the mountains was also nice, although slightly cloudy on this particular day. I would rather see that version with the blue sky. And I would rather not see the bear living in captivity for the sake of being heraldic animal of the city.

The conference (see website) is not particularly interesting, the theme encompasses all kind of media shifts, television, e-commerce, and virtual environments are all examples for that. Therefore, I as an engineer see myself to be on the margins of this conference. But there will be our session on Wednesday on creating and measuring presence. So far psychologists and economists were on the forefront, stating their paradigms and theories without a single graph showing up.

One exception was Mel Slater from Universitat Polit├ęcnica de Catalunya in Barcelona. In his keynote speech on real actions in virtual environments he also expressed his dislike with the term presence, which is used and understood by many researchers, often in a contradictory sense. Therefore he used the terms place illusion for some of the effects which he is investigating.

In the first keynote lecture, Matthias Steinmann and Tanja Hackenbruch explained the concept of the reality switch as new paradigm. With this paradigm the old communication model (content, channel, recipient) was extended, explaining immersive effects of fictional media.