Virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, total immersion in virtual worlds and superimposing data onto our reality—for several years now, everybody’s been talking up these concepts and ideas once again.

The enthusiasm that accompanied the dawn of this new high-tech age in the 1980s and ’90s is back, whereby the technology deployed in today’s data glasses (head-mounted displays) seems to finally be able to live up to the visions that preceded it. VR, AR and MR have become a playground of multifarious pursuits: the gaming sector and film industry, applications in the educational field and tourism market, works of art and architecture, the creative economy, performance and the theater.

The VRLab in the Ars Electronica Center’s Main Gallery showcases the latest VR, AR and MR technologies. In addition to applications by filmmakers and animators as well as artistic approaches, the VRLab relates the history of virtual and augmented reality’s development. What did 18th-century spatial illusions look like, how did we progress from the stereoscope to the Oculus Rift, and in which directions will VR and AR be advancing in days to come? The VRLab provides insights into these questions.

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