Is literature next in line for virtual-reality treatment?

STEPPING through the curtains, Michael Syrovatka screams and lurches backwards. In the real world, he is on the first floor of the Goethe-Institut (GI) in Prague. In the virtual one created by his headset, he has just looked into a mirror to find he has turned into a giant insect. “I jumped when I saw myself,” Mr Syrovatka says, as other pupils from Prague’s Austrian Grammar School take turns in the installation. They had arrived sullenly, expecting a lecture. Soon they are chattering about how it feels to be Gregor Samsa.

“The opening of ‘The Metamorphosis’ is a nightmare,” says Mika Johnson, a lecturer at Prague Film School and a Franz Kafka fanatic. In Kafka’s story Gregor wakes to find himself transformed into a speechless bug. His family bangs on the door, pleading with him to respond.

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Mike Rawson

Mike Rawson has recently re-awoken a long-standing interest in robots and our automated future. He lives in London with a single android - a temperamental vacuum cleaner - but is looking forward to getting more cyborgs soon.

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Is literature next in line for virtual-reality treatment?

by Mike Rawson time to read: 1 min
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