Nanor Vosgerichian & Samar Nasser
Play: The Nether
By: Jennifer Haley
This play is set in a future where the Internet has evolved into the Nether, a large network of virtual reality realms. Users can log in, create an identity, and live in an alternate reality. However, as people spend more time in these realms than in “real life”, the line between reality and the virtual begins to blur. When a young detective named Morris investigates one particular realm called “The Hideaway”, she discovers a disturbing form of “entertainment”. Her investigation brings up moral and ethical issues at the intersection of the virtual and the real. This gripping, haunting play uncovers the consequences of people exploring their dark, hidden desires through technology. Through this, the play reflects upon our own, contemporary relation to the internet.
Book: Ready Player One
By: Ernest Cline
Ravaged by climate change and the pitfalls of mass consumerism, the world appears dreadful in the year 2044. Teenager Wade Watts and the rest of the population have begun to spend countless hours escaping to the “OASIS”, a virtual reality simulation that is beginning to feel more like reality against the grim wasteland offline. After Wade stumbles upon the first clue in a treasure hunt masterminded by the creator of the game, he must race to find the rest in order to win a prize that will guarantee him a ticket out of his poverty-stricken life. In a futuristic dystopia sprinkled with 80s nostalgia, Cline creates an exhilarating adventure through a gaming utopia that predicts not only the future benefits of virtual reality, but also its complicated limits.
TV Episode: “Black Mirror”, “San Junipero”
In another one of its excellent stand-alone episodes, “Black Mirror” brings us to San Junipero, a bright, spring break-esque beach town where a shy young woman named Yorkie constantly tries – and fails – to fit in at a diner that never really seems to change. One night, however, she crosses paths with the sparkling, animated Kelly and suddenly Yorkie discovers what it really means to be alive. After a whirlwind romance, the two must face the truth of their unique situation, as well as the consequences of virtual immortality.
Movie: “The Matrix”
By: The Wachowskis
A true cult classic, this film has marked its place in cinema history. This movie’s continual popularity is a testament to its brilliance – from its filmmaking to its storytelling. “The Matrix” is set in a dystopian future where the reality experienced by humans in their everyday lives is actually a simulated reality called “The Matrix”, created by machines to control the human population. Drawing on many philosophical concepts, “The Matrix” tackles the notion of constructed realities, exploring individual lives as forms of the “virtual”, constructed to escape the harsher, grander real.