The hypothesis of my dissertation research and the virtual reality installation which I created in conjunction with the research paper is that virtual immersive environments have the potential to eliminate the physical distance between the work of art and the viewer, and consequently abolish the mental (psychic) space that has always existed between artworks and art viewers. In my thesis, I explained that this idea has consistently been one of the major objectives of western arts, and its roots can be traced back to the realism of the Greek art. I debated that throughout the history of art, realistic paintings and other naturalistic art forms have searched for ways to draw the viewer inside their framework and to create the illusion of reality to the highest extent.
But despite all their attempts, artists have never been able to completely realize this dream, until now. Today, by making use of virtual reality systems and enfolding the user inside a "real" virtual environment, we can finally achieve the desired level of realism, illusion, and immersion that has been long sought after. The notion of immersion is not only restricted to realistic works. It could be used to attain emotional reactions deriving from an abstract environment. Virtual reality systems have the potential of getting hold of the senses of the user to the full extent.
To convey the connotation of these claims, I created a multi-sensory virtual reality system and placed the viewpoint of the user of this multimedia piece, inside a 3 dimensional virtual environment, in which he or she would be surrounded by a multitude of human body parts, created as animated 3D shapes. By means of interactive functions, the user was able to approach the center point of this environment. Moving in that direction would cause the 3D figures to gradually become transparent, and once at the center, the user would find himself or herself completely surrounded by those figures, and could tactically feel the difference of temperatures caused by their contact.
At the conclusion point of my paper, due to the alarming nature of the virtual reality installation, a contradictory dilemma arose. Yet, now by making use of high-end multimedia technologies it's possible to abolish the psychic space, but isn't it time to put under question the validity of the goal itself and isn't the psychic space, in fact, a necessary factor to the existence of art forms, and the distance separating the viewer and the artwork essential for understanding art as art? Answer to which could be subject to another full-fledged research.