Aesthetics as a Medium

July 25th, 2008

Categories: Cultural Heritage, Education, VR Art

Still frame from Rutopia 2
Still frame from Rutopia 2


Tsoupikova, D.


Virtual reality, telepresence, haptic devices, advanced networks and surround sound offer greater means to visualize the complexity of the world and create new conceptions of reality and identity. These new conceptions expand traditional aesthetic principles of art making into other dimensions in depth and time requiring new aesthetic principles.

This text describes the relationship between traditional and digital aesthetics in the virtual reality art project Rutopia 2 built for the CAVE™ and C-Wall virtual environments. The project explores the aesthetics of virtual art in relation to traditional Russian folk arts and crafts such as wood sculpture, toys and the decorative painting styles of Palekh, Khokhloma, and Dymkovo. Their crisp easily recognizable style of expression is characterised by generalized outlines, crisp emphasized details, bright colours, subjects, materials, and forms. Rutopia 2 generalizes those aesthetic principles and transmits their culture into virtual reality. The project studies how the aesthetics can affect the intuitive navigation, perception, and emotional experience of the user inside the virtual environment. Computer graphics techniques used for the real-time development of virtual artwork study how colors and shapes can influence and lead the navigation and interaction of the user in the virtual environment. The research of user’s perception and emotional experience gained from immersion and interaction with aesthetics of the virtual environment teaches that aesthetics can induce and control emotional responses. The aesthetics of the virtual environment can be orchestrated to control the communicative power of the project, maximize a sense of immersion and ultimately “presence” in the virtual world.




Tsoupikova, D., Aesthetics as a Medium, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) 2008, Singapore Management University, Singapore, July 25th, 2008.