Aesthetic toneshifts are not about art museums or the redesign on your Cinnamon Toast Crunch box. A toneshift means a fundamental change in perception. In the history of human world-making, there has been no perception-shift like the one Palmer Luckey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Google are bringing with Virtual Reality.
VR has come and very soon it will feel as if we always needed it. Joining the ever-rising mound of tools, devices, gimmicks and tricks guaranteed to ‘revolutionize the human experience’, VR brings with it a wealth of possibilities to aid our twenty-first century human condition.
But I met some guys in the 3-D scanning community who are on the cutting edge of VR porn. These guys – Holodexxx here in Toronto with 11 of the most famous adult stars already signed to exclusive contracts, know their way around the potential. When I asked them what they worried about with this technology or where this would place us in the future, they voiced the familiar fear of a coming corporate owned, everything-for-sale world – something they say is already happening. When I asked them what they plan to do about it, I heard about in-experience purchases (‘click buy to have her put on the sexier outfit’) that would make them rich enough to drop out. The boys at Holodexxx are good people; they are smart with drive and moxy; they represent the best of what buzzing minds with no limits might do. What we can do should be done, perhaps. But there is no excuse for shoulder shrugging ‘I’ve got to get mine and then it should stop’… well damn. That’s a toneshift the human experience could do without.
— Leopold Kowolik is a Toronto based writer and the editor of Studio Magazine.